This week in Washington, the United States Senate took up a bill that should be a non-controversial idea; that women and men should be paid equally for equal work.
Mitt Romney's campaign issued a statement that said they supported the concept of equal pay. Who wouldn't?
But when asked if he supported the legislation...
Nothing. No response.
Political translation: no, but I don't have the guts to say no because I am trying t get to fifty point one percent.
Who else doesn't support pay equity?
The Republican Party. Republicans blocked the legislation in the Senate. Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown called this a "job-killing burden" on small business and employers.
Especially in this economy, families are depending on two incomes. It is not uncommon for women to be the primary breadwinners in families.
Studies show that on average women make 77 cents for the dollar their male counterparts are paid. And the discrepancy is harsher for women of color.
Now, more than ever, American families need to know that all earners are being paid equitably. American families don't deserve the additional financial burden Scott Brown and Republican prefer they bear.
Count on Republicans to continue to ignore this problem.
Lower pay is a financial burden that keeps on taking from women and their families. The loss in take home pay is only the beginning. Later in life, women are further penalized because their Social Security checks are smaller because they were paid less when they were working. As the gender with the longer average life span, the financial punishment extends over years, even decades, of retirement.
That is a real burden for families, especially for single mothers.
The bigger problem: as a percentage of the population, women are much more likely to take on the task of caring for aging parents. So pay discrepancy burden affects across generations: a working woman today is paid less, will receive fewer Social Security benefits later in life and is likely at some point to help her mother financially – who was paid less and is getting Social Security benefits that are lower than they should be.
This vicious cycle is an insult to women. Anyone with a grandmother, a mother, a sister, a wife, a partner, a daughter, a friend, any woman in their life that has spent time in the workforce should find this repulsive.
Republicans know that women earn less than men and it is fine with them.
This says a lot about where Republicans see women's role in society. If you do not believe someone should be treated equally, you are saying it's ok to treat her unequally.
We are not talking about one of the many misogynistic things that come out of Rush Limbaugh's mouth. These are the leaders of the Republican Party. The Party that opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Equity Bill.
As for Mitt Romney, his campaign would only say that he supports the concept of pay equity, but refused to support this legislation. Ask any working woman if a politician who doesn't support a law for pay equity supports the concept of pay equity. I am sure they will find the question laughable.
Unfortunately the consequences of this burden are not funny.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist and President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.
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