Does this sound familiar?
Jane Galt writes:
As you may or may not know, the states set the level of Medicaid spending, but the Feds match the states dollar for dollar. New York State decided that a good way to soak up extra Federal money was to require the local governments to match the state, dollar for dollar. Since the Feds match all state and local spending, this had the effect of doubling Medicare spending in the state of New York…
A federal judge has ruled that a sex-discrimination suit against Wal-Mart Stores can proceed as a class action, which could lead to a huge loss for the megastore. Up to 1.6 million women could join the class action, and at a few thousand apiece it could cost Wal-Mart billions.
Baltimore trial lawyer Peter Angelos made enough from his asbestos lawsuit work to buy the Orioles. Lawyers’ fees in this case could buy the entire American League.
This is not the first big case involving women’s wages. Coke, Home Depot, and Texaco have paid more than $100 million each in such lawsuits.
Now I don’t want to quarrel with any of these decisions. Who knows what went on? How could American courts be wrong? But I call your attention to a larger version of this alleged discrimination, the oft heard claim that women earn, on average, 70 percent of men’s salaries. NBC News this evening cited this figure as a virtual national scandal. Should an Equal Rights Amendment pass, you can bet that lawsuits would follow gigantic enough to make Senator John Edwards dance with anticipation
Any economist worth his or her salt will immediately wonder where this 70 percent number came from and how it would be changed if it accounted for differences in experience, education, difficulty of jobs, and the other factors that affect the demand for a person’s labor. This requires rigorous analysis, not just quoting some data.
But where do you find such analysis? Well, you go to one of my favorite websites, www.iwf.org, the home page of the Independent Women’s Forum. This organization published a report called “Women’s Figures” that challenges the 70 percent shibboleth, and they keep up to date on other such issues, presenting a clear, market oriented analysis in a lively format. Yes, they are conservative women!
Maybe women economists should get a raise!
There are many things to appreciate about America’s decentralized, federalist system. One is the fact that we can all learn from the mistakes of another state or local government without having to bear the bad consequences. Arizonans, Texans and Coloradoans, for example, have benefited from New Mexico’s experiment in socialism-lite. They have seen that New Mexico’s high tax rates and bloated government spending have made the state one of the poorest in the nation.
But even New Mexicans can learn from others. This county in North Carolina has recently decided to impose a hotel tax. Never mind the fact that the county has no hotels. They put the tax in place for “down the road,” according to Jeff Jennings, the Chairman of the County’s Board of Commissioners. How many hotel managers do you suppose will be eager to move into this county? I’d guess that the commissioners will have to look WAY down the road before they see any tax revenue from their new tax.