Apr 142016

There are two very popular memes in political discourse regarding income and taxation:

  1. Women get paid only 79 cent for every dollar a man makes
  2. The rich aren’t paying their fair share of income taxes

It’s easy to understand why these are popular. They’re easy to express (and put on bumper stickers), they make lots of people feel like victims, and they are a great way to drive wedges between large segments of the population. So for authoritarians, fascists, Progressives and other forms of just plain awful people, these are great “facts” to spout as loudly and as often as possible. But are they true?

As to #1: do women on the whole earn less than men? Yes. Is it because of discrimination, that evil bosses simply pay women less than men Just Cuz? Not even close. Whose fault is it that a woman gets paid less than a man, then? Simply put… the womans fault. Because, generally speaking, the path these women have chosen is a path that *necessarily* leads to lower paying jobs. Harvard economist Claudia Goldin was on NPR a few days ago and made some important points:

Disproportionately, women, particularly those who are mothers or who are taking care of others, would like greater predictability in their hours. They would like less on-call hours. They would like fewer periods of long hours. Well, those jobs are often the jobs – the ones that have the longer hours, the less predictability – those are the ones that are often the higher income occupations.

What this basically means is if you want to get paid the big bucks, you have to work the crap jobs. Sure, doctors get paid more than septic tank techs. But the doctors who are on call 24/7 get paid more than those who keep normal business hours; the ones who put in 60 hours a week get more than those who put in 40. The same goes for the septic tank techs. If you need to have predictable hours to take care of the rugrats… you get paid less. If you simply *want* predictable hours just because you don’t want to be on call 24/7, you get paid less. And it appears that women are more interested in more stable hours… and less of ’em.

Additionally: If you have two employees, A and B, who start at the same time, with the same skill set and work experience, you will probably pay them the same. If, two years in, A decides to take a year off… when A comes back, B will have put in one more year of work than A has. It doesn’t matter if A left to raise a baby, take care of a dying parent, study abroad, study a broad, hike the Appalachian Trail or follow Phish on tour, the simple fact is… A wasn’t at work for a year, while B was. B’s getting a raise that A’s not getting. B has not only put in more hours, B is more up-to-date on what’s going on. B has demonstrated more utility to the company than A has. And as it turns out, women are more likely to be “A” than “B,” generally due to the whole “raising offspring” thing.

When all that gets factored in, the “wage gap” shrinks substantially, to the point where economist Goldin said:

On average, when we measure these differences, we do find a residual gap. And in certain cases, we would feel very comfortable as researchers in saying this is discrimination. But it’s very, very hard to do that because it’s hard to find the smoking guns.

I’m a historian as well as an economist. And in the past, we really could find smoking guns. People would actually say, I pay women less than men. We don’t find that anymore. So we have to really search for the smoking guns. I know they’re there. I know that there is discrimination. How much is there – probably not that much.

So… sure, there’s some discrimination. But where? It does not seem to be readily findable.

OK, so on to Number 2, those dastardly richies not paying their fair share. Ummmm… well, the facts don’t seem to support that:

…after all federal taxes are factored in, the U.S. tax system as a whole is progressive. The top 0.1% of families pay the equivalent of 39.2% and the bottom 20% have negative tax rates (that is, they get more money back from the government in the form of refundable tax credits than they pay in taxes).

The squawking for a “basic income,” where people – all people – would get paid some amount of money annually simply because they’re alive (and if they are Democrats in Illinois, being alive probably won’t be a requirement) gets louder every year. As robots and illegal aliens make more and more of the minwage workers obsolete, you can bet that this call will only get *painfully* loud. Now, we already have lots and lots of people who are negative taxpayers, as described above, and the highest tax rates are paid by those who make the most. So how are the rich not paying their fair share? Should more people at the bottom be cut off from the responsibility of funding the government that takes care of them, while those at the top should be squeezed for more? If you do that, and many want to, you put the burden of taxation on a smaller and smaller group of people. And the smaller the group of people, the more influence they have… by pulling up stakes and moving elsewhere, by dying, by simply stopping. Remember, a lot of the people who want to tax the rich often say stuff like “aren’t you rich enough” or similar. So, let’s say the really high earners suddenly agreed with them and decided to retire. Then… this:

In 2014, people with adjusted gross income, or AGI, above $250,000 paid just over half (51.6%) of all individual income taxes

It wouldn’t take too many durned rich bastiches to decide to retire and live the easy life before the federal budget revenues implode.


 Posted by at 2:00 pm
  • sferrin

    My fear is that the parasites will vote somebody in who sees all those nice 401ks that need to be “redistributed”. I think that would push many over the edge into violence.

    • allen

      they’ve been talking about confiscating the retirement funds for a while now. there are estimates that doing so would retire the national debt instantly. it would also doom several generations into living off of social security, and thus being dependent upon the government. so, to a progressive, it’s a win-win.

      • sferrin

        That would be outright theft. I don’t see how they could possibly think they’d get away with it.

        • Rick

          when the retirement fund belongs to government workers, and that government manages the fund (CalPERS for example) then the state can blame all it’s *current* fiscal woes on *future* costs for retirement, get the rhetoric of jealousy going, and then that big untapped cash can be used to buy votes today. Sure there are “rules” that “keep” this from happening…but who creates the rules, and who enforces them, at state government level? Especially in Sacramento?

          • sferrin

            401ks don’t belong to government workers.

          • Rick

            nope but there are retirement plans which do. people claim “they can’t do that” with either state pensions or private 401Ks but “can’t” is really dependent on cooperation of the entity holding whatever particular retirement you have. once the state retirements have been exhausted, then there’s little else to come after except for the rest.

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            They use the police to rob people at gunpoint without benefit of a indictment, absent any proof of a crime, so there are really no limits or barriers to thievery by government.

            Putting the federal government back into its proper constitutional framework would be a good start.

          • Rick

            no disagreement here!

        • MiddleAgedKen

          I’ll take “What was Roosevelt’s gold confiscation in the ’30s for $1,000?”, Alex.

          • sferrin


        • Brutus974

          How would we stop them?

          • Fold your 401k into a trust-based Roth IRA, preferable an overseas based trust. The IRA administrator gives the trust ( which you control ) funds. The trust buys gold or real estate, and holds it for you ( which can be just a safe in your own basement ).

            If the US gov. demands the IRA put the funds in a federally controlled instrument ( MyRA for instance ), they ask the trust ( which you control ) for the money back, and the trust says “nope”.

            The IRA administrator tells the feds the foriegn trust refused to hand over assets.

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            Perhaps those AR-15 Mrs. Clinton wants to confiscate so much will play a role in preventing the improper allocation of people’s assets one day.

        • gozur88

          The big advantage of taking 401(k) money is the people who are really getting screwed are too old to do anything about it.

          • sferrin

            They’re only “too old to do anything about it” if they’re insane or dead.

        • Jonathan Plaster

          “It’s for the children.”

        • Johnathan Swift Jr.

          Well, all confiscation of one person’s wealth – not so it can run the constitutionally mandated functions of government – but so that it can be redistributed to someone else is by its nature outright theft.

          So, once the state is into thievery, why would assets be any different from income?

          Look at the confiscations by the police without so much as an indictment, let alone a conviction. There have been a few states who have banned highway robbery by the police, such as Florida, but it is still common and the federal government just re-instituted this Jesse James form of taxation.

          • sferrin

            “Well, all confiscation of one person’s wealth – not so it can run the
            constitutionally mandated functions of government – but so that it can
            be redistributed to someone else is by its nature outright theft.”

            Any way you look at it it’s theft.

    • Griffin

      There’s a way the govt can confiscate savings with ever touching your bank account. It’s called inflation. When the govt prints so much money that high inflation kicks in, the value of your savings shrinks. Five years at 10% inflation will destroy more than half the value of your savings.

      Bernie wants to spend $billions on programs, “free” stuff to give away. Taxing the rich won’t bring in enough revenue so Bernie will turn to printing money. Inflation will soar and your savings will shrink in value. Bernie’s free stuff will cost everybody a hell of a lot.

    • jukin

      I got some news for you. America, living, dead, and illegals, did vote that person into office in 2008 and 2012.

      • sferrin

        True (the guy managed to DOUBLE the national debt on his watch) but I think Bernie would turn it up to 11.

  • se jones

    Wonder what would happen to the residual gap if you factored in average life spans? Yeah, we guys make a little more, but we croke first. So there.

    Was over at ULA in Littleton today…gawd how depressing, the doom & gloom was palpable.

    I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.

    • Scottlowther

      > ULA in Littleton today…gawd how depressing, the doom & gloom

      Among management types, I can see that. But among the engineers? I’d expect to see hand-wringing glee. Because now, at last, they not only can design new rockets, they *should* design new rockets. Sure, they’re behind the curve, but that simply means it’s their time to shine.

      Assuming management isn’t *too* stupid and refuses to do what’s needed. So… maybe some trepidation on the part of the engineers might be called for…

      • se jones

        >some trepidation on the part of the engineers

        Ya think??

        Augustine’s law XXVI: If a sufficient number of management layers are superimposed on each other, it can be assured that disaster is not left to chance.

        But they can hope for XI:
        If the Earth could be made to rotate twice as fast, managers would get twice as much done. If the Earth could be made to rotate twenty times as fast, everyone else would get twice as much done since all the managers would fly off.

        • publiusr

          My guess is that they folks in Littleton REALLY hate my State of Alabama–for that really is ULA at this point.

          They should go for total immersion.

          Nix the Vulcan concept–work with Dynetics–and build Pyrios.

          ULA will have the prestige of the F-1 rebirth–have Shelby’s support, and will have a rocket with muscle to go against Falcon Heavy.

          Reduce part count–don’t overthink the plumbing with recoverable bits and pieces.

          Vulcan is going to be the equivalent of the XF-85 Goblin fighter.
          Don’t do too much with too little.

          Replacing solids with small flyback jet pods–that’s one thing.

          An inert engine pod with chutes?


  • allen

    I propose to close the phony “wage gap” the moment women volunteer to be put to death to close the “mortality gap”. men have a much higher rate of fatal injuries on the job.

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      Well that is because few people fall of their chair, land on their fat ass and get injured, where men working in coal mines, on oil rigs or deep sea fishing get injured pretty frequently. There was a nurse in Los Angeles that got hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements, all for falling on her ass. Oh yes, those receptive motion injuries from keyboard use are hell, much worse than falling overboard or being crushed in a mine!

      • allen

        exactly. women want it both ways..they want a nice safe office job with the pay of a coal miner or oil rig worker. and if you don’t give it to them, you’re a misogynist!

  • Doug Pirahna

    Another factor on the wage gap is that women traditionally pick careers that are lower paid than others.
    Ex – where I’m from a masters in social work will get you about what a new grad from the local engineering school will get. And that’s gender neutral, men make the same pittance the women do.
    Or an education major? You’ll get less than that engineering major starting out, the major benefits to being a teacher around here are the hours and benefits. Same crappy starting pay no matter your gender.

    • Max

      I just heard that the wage gap is for men whose wives work is about the same.
      Perhaps it has more to do with the home support network ?

  • Max


    I think what you need to realize is that if corporations are people too…

    • martynW

      About 60 percent of U.S. businesses are taxed as individuals. This includes me.

      If you look at the chart below, it may explain a lot of the chart above. According to the article below, this doesn’t even show sole proprietorships.
      In short

    • DavidM

      You can say corps are people, but they are not. Any “taxes” on corps are just passed on to the customer,shareholders are paid less dividends, or employees are paid less.

      They should eliminate all business taxes and focus on people, since that is who is taxed anyway.

      • Max

        “Corporations are people” is sarcasm aimed at the supreme court. They obviously are not. They do wield a very large influence in today’s corporate sponsored elections.

        And many corporations are growth stocks, not dividend producing. This gives the paradoxical problem that the only way to earn a return on an investment is to dispose of the investment ! but, I guess liquidity in the market is an important attribute of the system.

        And employees pay, like other expenses, is tax deductible for businesses.

        The concept of eliminating all business taxes, and I assume you mean corporate taxes because we are all business in one way or another, is ridiculous if you think about it. With the current balance between S corps (Corporations directly passing profits to shareholders to be taxed as individuals) and C corps (Independent Legal Entities to be taxed independently) there are advantages to both ways of doing business (Living life!). Drop all income taxes on C corps and everyone immediately makes a part time minimum wage, but their PERSONAL C CORP gives them benefits like company housing, company meals, company healthcare, company housing, company uniforms, paid vacations, company education reimbursement for the spawn, etc and so on.

        Personally, I would love to never pay any taxes on anything but the smallest pittance of a tiny portion of my cashflow. Heck, I bet I can make it small enough that I would be happy with 100% tax rate. (here is you Nickel IRS!)
        “But that just ain’t gonna happen.”

        Now a more reasonable proposition is that C corps should be able to count dividends to the shareholders as an expense, like interests on a loan, rather that requiring it to be taxed as income, then paid to a shareholder to be taxed again. Of course the idea that the maximum tax on investment income is 15%, (with no payroll taxes, which are more than that anyway!) probably needs to be revisited. There are some games that you can play with stocks, that are pretty immoral depending on how you look at them. (unappreciated stock contributions to charities with fractional buybacks, Stock backed loans with variable interest rates, Mutual funds getting long term investment tax rates after *Days* of ownership, etc)

        But hey, when large corporations can break the law, then change the law before prosecution (repeal glass-steigel / citibank becomes citicorp ) we kind of know who is controlling the legislature. (take the money and run for office!)


  • martynW

    There are always plenty of people willing to eat a society’s seed corn.

  • Da St

    I’d like to add that Goldin does NOT know that there’s discrimination there. She may feel it. That doesn’t mean that it’s there.

  • Headbangerguy

    If it were true that women get paid so much less, why would anybody ever hire a man.

    The left knows it’s not true.

    • Lee Bandy

      the left response is the same every time. “Discrimination”
      i then to ask them to show me. Show me a woman here at work that is making less than the men next to her. at that point to selection bias.

      its the same as when we were told that half of republicans believed saddam hussein committed 9/11. I asked them to find me a republican that believed that.

      usually they just lie. remember obamacare? every single liberal i knew had an aunt that had their insurance cancelled for making a claim. when asked to demonstrate even one person, anywhere, that i could actually see and talk to… none were ever abvailable.

      these are the lies that need to be true. therefore they are

      • Rich Rostrom

        David Pryce-Jones is a very able British journalist who worked in the Middle East for many years. At one time he was in Gaza, and there was a report that Israeil forces had secretly murdered a lot of Palestinians. (This was long before the Israeli withdrawal.) Pryce-Jones heard this from a number of outraged Arabs. He asked if they knew anyone who had been killed, so he could name and profile that person in his report.

        None of them did, but they all knew someone else who did. So Pryce-Jones had his informants take him to their acquaintances who knew a victim. Well, none of them actually knew a victim – but they all knew someone else who did… Pryce-Jones spent two full days following up these chains of rumor, and never found a single identifiable victim.

        Sound familiar?

        • Lee Bandy

          … And they all had an aunt or uncle who’s health insurance had been cancelled after a claim.

    • Peter Hanely

      I fully agree with your first point. Your second presumes intelligence among the left.

  • dracphelan

    This reminds me of a recent news story. One person moving from New Jersey to Florida is throwing the state’s budget into complete disarray. His income taxes just make up that much of the state budget. Can you imagine what will happen if the top 10% of earners in the USA decided to do the same thing? http://nypost.com/2016/04/10/this-man-could-destroy-new-jersey-by-moving-to-florida/

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      Exactly, $140,000,000 in state sponsored graft disappears in a moment, opening hole in the budget.

      The former California state actuary has warned California that its dependence on the super rich does not make good fiscal sense, bit to no avail. He explains that first of all, their income is much more volatile, because it often depends on stock values and second, they can vote with their feet and move.

      The only reason progressives would want a border fence would be to trap their tax base, so they can’t escape the pain of progressive taxation and the fecklessness and corruption of their rule.

  • GlobalTrvlr

    your wage gap examples concentrate mainly on white collar – where longer hours, less predictability, extensive travel all translate into higher pay than the HR or PR type jobs that women flock to. But one of the biggest drivers is those nasty “man jobs”. Construction, steel mills, power plants, oil wells, mining, rail, welding, pipefitting, etc. These are all much higher paying jobs than many of the white collar jobs like insurance & banking, teaching and even nursing. And there is much overtime throughout the year. But it is physically demanding, cold, hot, dirty, smelly. Even after many years of outreach to women, and actual higher pay for women in many cases, you still only see a handful of women in these jobs. And this is not like the infantry. I am not saying women cannot do the jobs as well as men – they can go through the same training, apprenticeships, whatever and be just as good. They just don’t by & large.

    Even in white collar, it is the same with STEM. Women and minorities, and especially minority women are paid substantially more than men and given more advancement opportunity, they are courted, they get more of their education paid for, but you still don’t see a very large % of women choosing the field.

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      Yes, this is what I call the Sh_t Sucker Paradox. Why don’t the feminists get their panties in a bunch about the lack of women coal miners, deep sea fishermen, welders, roughnecks, slaughter house or feed lot employees or all the real jobs that make the modern world function. They don’t care that there are few women sucking human waste from the sumps underneath homes, they only care about sit on your far arse, typing on a keyboard and ordering people around occupations.

  • Dusty Thompson

    Socialism is the message, Marxism is the strategy and Fascism is the goal…

    Democrats lost America’s first Civil War because they enslaved Black people. Democrats are going to lose America’s second Civil War because they attempted to enslave everyone else…

    Not every Democrat was a KuKluxKlan member, but every KuKluxKlan member was a democrat.

    When peaceful recourse is denied, violent redress becomes justified, it becomes manifold.

  • FrancisChalk

    The gender pay gap thing is so simple to debunk. Just name one specific job–named company and position–where a woman gets paid less than a man doing the same job.

    Put up or shut up, lying Leftists.