Fair Pay? GOP Says Hell No

Joanne Bamberger
Politics & Views
40

equal payIn the recent election, for the first time in decades, more women voters cast their ballots for Republicans than Democrats, hoping the GOP would make things better for their budgets and wallets.

So how did the GOP thank all those women for switching sides? By refusing to allow the Paycheck Fairness bill to come up for a vote in the Senate.

Nice way to say, "Thanks for your votes, ladies, but we still think you're worth less than men."

Wooing women voters with promises of looking out for their best interests and then refusing to allow even a fair debate on a bill that would help countless families in this stinky economy was the legislative equivalent of that guy in high school who promised if you put out, he'd take you to the prom. And then he took the head cheerleader like he was always planning, having played you for the fool.

I wish I could lay all the blame at the feet of the GOP for abandoning women's interests, but, sadly, there is plenty to heap on the Democrats and the White House, as well. I've saved my special anger for two Republican women, though -- Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.

Snowe and Collins broke ranks with the GOP when they voted in favor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was the first bill Barack Obama signed into law when he became President. But that only expanded workers' rights to sue for back pay if they've been discriminated against and they find out about it. The courage Snowe and Collins displayed then by standing up for women didn't last long as they stepped back into line with all the other Republicans, essentially saying to American women that there's no need for getting equal pay in the first place, as long as you can sue for it later.

Don't believe it when you hear the conservative spin that's coming -- why, there's no pay disparity in America! That's all a big myth! Just a liberal fairy tale to make more you feel sorry for people who don't work as hard as others!

Tell that to the women who make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns in the exact same job. Or the women of color who make 62 cents. Or the Latina mom who's really at the bottom of the pay ladder with 53 cents.

This isn't about the choices women make about jobs or careers. This is about elected officials playing political games first and putting people last when it comes to ensuring those extra few cents families desperately need to feed their kids or take them to the pediatrician when they're sick.

The right-wing is going to be busy trying to convince us that it's better for struggling Americans to keep those Bush tax cuts for the uber-rich rather than ensuring that women across the country get the equal pay they deserve. That's just a ploy designed to protect their political donors' tax breaks, not one that gets us out of this recession. I just hope the women who switched their votes in the November mid-terms will see that the GOP never had their best interests at heart and come back to the Democrats in 2012.

 

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