Pay equity for women, and everyone!

I guess Sabrina and I are destined to disagree again, which is perfectly fine, and healthy. This is what makes a democracy a democracy, and this is the kind of healthy debate I wish we could have more of here. I believe that women are subject to substantial discrimination with respect to pay, as are other individuals and groups.

The difference of views between Sabrina and myself would be this: I believe the law itself should be a potent and effective weapon against discrimination. I believe that government action per se, in defense of pay equity, is urgently needed and right. And I believe that "the magic of the marketplace" alone is not enough to protect women or other groups facing pay inequity.

Of course, not all companies discriminate against women. There are many excellent and fine companies, large and small, that are models for fairness in pay. Not one of these companies that treats women fairly would be affected at all, in any way, by one word I write or one action I propose.

The problem is, what about the companies that do not treat women or others fairly?

I believe the law should be the primary source of redress, and the government should be ready, when necessary, to act legislatively or through the executive branch. I do not believe the market alone is enough. The market works brilliantly for companies that treat women fairly, but disastrously for companies that treat women unfairly.

In my view there are many Republican conservative ideologues who put ideology ahead of protecting women and others from unfair treatment. The world does not conform to ideology. Injustice persists. Remedies must be found. The law must be fair and implemented. Sometimes the government must act.

Beyond this, there are countless programs that serve women that are under attack by Republicans in Congress and some presidential candidates. I could list them again, but if I did here, I would be chastised by my editor for writing too much, and would be imposing cruel and unusual punishment (again) on readers!

Suffice it to say, for now, that my inbox is inundated, day after day as recently as yesterday, with pleas for justice and support from a long list of women's groups. I agree with them.

Regarding the Wal-Mart case, I agree with Justices Ginsbug, Sotomayor, Kagan and Breyer and believe the case was very wrongly decided. I believe it is legally, economically and morally wrong to disenfranchise a million women in one case from having their day in court.

Regarding pay equity, I support pay equity legislation and legal cases. Regarding the programmatic war by most Republicans against efforts important to women, I believe these attacks are miserable policy and bad politics for Republicans.

Sabrina and I have a legal, philosophical and political disagreement, and this is a debate I welcome.

Perhaps Sabrina and I can agree to join together supporting the kind of Made in the USA jobs campaign I have been advocating. We are destined to disagree about pay equity, and in the end, the voters will instruct us both about who is right.

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