Big-City Gals Earn More Than Guys

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The Skinny is Keach Hagey's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

You've come a long way, baby.

The New York Times reports that young women in the biggest U.S. cities who work full time have forged ahead of men in wages, according to recent census data.

In New York, women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 working full time made 117 percent of men's wages. The gals made 120 percent in Dallas, and do more modestly better than guys in Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis and a few other big cities. But nationwide, young women made much less: 89 percent of the average full-time pay for men.

The reasons are a little mysterious, but they seem to have something to do with the fact that women are, apparently, smarter. That is to say, in 2005, 53 percent of women in their 20s working in New York were college graduates, compared with only 38 percent of men that age.

"I would, of course, like to think that it means that women know what they want sooner than men," one young lawyer tells the Times. "But it probably has more to do with the unfortunate fact that women need to keep in mind biological time constraints and feel a great deal of pressure to build an entire career before refocusing on marriage and children."

The Times suggests the shift will make it harder for big-city gals to find Mr. Right, at least "if they mean they'll only settle for someone with an education akin to their own," according to one professor.

But the article doesn't address a more pressing question: Does this mean we're going to have to start picking up that first-date check?

Iowa Is Wide Open

Forget the national horserace for a second. The real race starts in Iowa in less than six months, and in that corn-fed state, the three main Democratic contenders are at a dead tie, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll reported by the Post today.

It might be Hillary Clinton's race to lose across the country, but Iowa has fond memories of John Edwards's handsome hairdo from the last time he blew through town.

"Edwards's strong base of support, built on the foundations of his second-place finish in the state's precinct caucuses in 2004, has turned Iowa into the most competitive early state for the Democratic field," the Post reports.

Hillary also "lags far behind her main rivals in voters' rankings of the most likable candidate" in Iowa, the Post reports. Ouch.

Immigration Crackdown Is Imminent

Whether you see aftermath of June's failed attempt to reform the immigration system as a fertile pasture or wrecked wasteland apparently depends on which coast you call home.

The New York Times rounds up some "less contentious" immigration legislation that's rising from the ashes of the last attempt, including measures to create a new temporary immigrant worker program for agriculture and another that would give a path to citizenship to high school graduates who are illegal immigrants if they complete two years of college or military service.

The poster boy for the last bill is Juan Sebastian Gomez, who had just graduated with honors and top scores on a pile of AP tests when immigration officials rounded up his family for deportation back to Colombia. Gomez, whose parents brought him to the States when he was two, made furtive cell phone calls to his friends from the back of the vehicle on his way to the detention center. His friends opened up a Facebook page to signal his plight, contacted the media and worked the hallways of Capitol Hill. Their representative offered a private bill to give them legal status, and for the moment the family has been given a reprieve.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times heralds an imminent "new crackdown" on illegal immigrants that would force business to fire them or face stiff penalties.

"In the coming days, the Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue a rule outlining how businesses must respond when they receive notice that there are discrepancies in a worker's tax records."

Many businesses ignore such notices now. People are worried because many of the errors in tax records are "benign" and the crackdown is like to "cause serious headaches for millions of U.S. citizens."

Businesses are also annoyed because they're basically being forced to act as enforcers, bearing the burden of a system that Congress couldn't get its act together to fix.

"My real fear is that we'll see lots of terminations and a lot of people displaced, maybe some of them going into the underground economy," said Laura Reiff, a co-chair of the Business Immigration & Compliance Group at Greenberg Traurig, a Washington law firm. "Lawfully work-authorized people may also be terminated."

Mayor's Mistress Suspended

Also terminated soon may be Telemundo's homewrecking political reporter, Mirthala Salinas, according to the Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, 54, admitted to having an affair with Salinas, 35, in June, the day before his wife filed for divorce. The fact that she happened to be covering him while they were romantically involved has caused an outcry, and yesterday Salinas was suspended for two months without pay and several of her superiors were disciplined.

Most of the reaction from her co-workers tended toward the scolding variety, but one colleague at NBC, which owns Telemundo, saw the kind of bright side we've come to expect from that sunny Californian city:

"It will probably make her more successful, ultimately," he said. "It's just publicity for her career."