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October 9, 2018

Taylor Swift Performs Economics and Hits a Flat Note


Megastar Taylor Swift has announced she is supporting Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen over Republican Marsha Blackburn for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat. One reason, according to Swift, is that Blackburn “voted against equal pay for women.”
Swift is apparently referring to the widely discredited—except among leftist politicians—“gender pay gap.”
According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, the median usual weekly earnings for full-time men (age 16 and older) is $962; for women it’s $779. Thus women are earning about 81 cents for every dollar a man makes.
Lefties claim the gap is proof companies discriminate against women, and they propose more laws and regulations to ensure wage equality—even though federal law already prohibits pay discrimination based on gender.
But you can just as easily make the same case for an “age pay gap.” The St. Louis Fed says the median full-time weekly earnings for those age 55-64 is $993. For someone age 20-24 it’s $540—a little more than half of older workers’ income.
Fortunately, most people would dismiss the notion of an age pay gap. They recognize that people with years of experience, and who have taken on more responsibility, tend to earn more than those just beginning their careers.
And there are equally good reasons for dismissing the gender pay gap. One of those reasons is career choices.
Economist Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute recently released a survey of doctoral degrees by gender and field. Perry notes that 2017 was the ninth straight year that more women than men earned a doctoral degree.
But what’s more telling for our purposes is the fields women voluntarily chose. In higher- and lower-paying professions; the breakdown of workers is as follows:

Notice that men tend to outnumber women in the higher-paying professions two or three to one. The exception is health and medical.
In the lower-paying professions, the reverse is true—although that appears to be changing, slowly, over time.
And yet the so-called gender pay gap makes no adjustment for the tendency of men to choose higher-paying engineering and science-related jobs and women to choose lower-paying education and social science jobs.
Most economists today recognize when those and other variances are factored in, there is little or no gender pay gap.
Taylor Swift probably doesn’t know that fact. And most of those on the left don’t care—because they never want to let facts get in the way of a good political issue.


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