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More pay = more Social Security

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Posted: 5 pm ET

Pay equity for women is a hot topic in Congress these days. Cynics say it is because Democrats are eager to stir up female voters who, according to the Associated Press, comprised 53 percent of all voters in 2012 and preferred Democrats by 11 percentage points.

The Associated Press points out that the voting rate for women drops in non-presidential elections like the one coming up in November, so Democrats are doing their best to get women interested in the election so they'll go to the polls.

Thursday, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) co-hosted a press conference with advocacy group Social Security Works to release new research that says closing the gender pay gap would strengthen Social Security's finances and improve women's benefits over their retirement. DeLauro said that currently women earn 77 cents for every $1 that men earn, and if women made more, they would pay more into Social Security. "Closing the gender pay gap would provide greater Social Security benefits for women and it would reduce the long-term Social Security shortfall by one-third," DeLauro says.

According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, which has long looked at this issue, pay equity would mean raises for 59.3 percent of women, increasing payroll taxes and generating significant money for Social Security. In 2012, closing the wage gap would have increased women's income by nearly $448 billion dollars.

Pay equity would solve many problems

Not only would women pay in more, but they would also be less likely to choose spousal benefits, points out Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Spousal benefits allow the lower earner in a couple to claim up to 50 percent of the higher-earning spouse's benefit if it is more than she would receive -- usually it is a woman -- based on her own earnings record. Paying women more would reduce the incentive for this kind of double dipping in the higher-earner account. And, of course, it would give women more discretionary income to save for retirement.

DeLauro and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) have introduced The Paycheck Fairness Act that would build on the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to prohibit sex discrimination in the payment of wages. It also would require employers to show that pay disparity is related to job performance, not gender, and prohibit retaliation against employees who inquire or talk about wage discrepancies.

A related bill, expected to be introduced by U.S. Rep Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) and U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York), would give Social Security credits to workers who take time out to care for children younger than age 6 or elderly and disabled family members. Since many women's Social Security is lowered by having fewer than 35 years in the workforce, this bill could help women get higher benefits.

Don't be surprised if neither of these bills are ever passed by Congress. But if you have an opinion either way, voting in the November's mid-term elections is the right approach to being heard.

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ken glaze
November 03, 2014 at 11:05 am

7cedars, That was well put.

September 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

As a woman, this story is nothing but to stir women voters to vote Democrat. Every woman who reads this article should be asking themselves, what does the Democrat party offer me...NOTHING. Same with's all about your vote. Your vote means money and control; in every sense, it's called bribery. If the women who are employed by a Democrat POTUS are getting paid less, that should tell you something.

DON'T BE FOOLED! If women are being paid less as their same male counterparts, equal on all levels...either ask for a raise or find a new company to work for. Life IS NOT fair, it's up to each woman to RISE above it, and make their OWN path.

August 01, 2014 at 2:58 pm

some would argue the reson for the extra 17 cents "women and children first, the draft, or paying for everything on a date", yet i dont hear anyone complain about that.

Joe M
July 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Rhonda, point well made. I certainly believe women,including my wife ,ought to be paid equally for the same work.I just don't want the government to get involved and muck things up.

Rhonda M
July 25, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Joe M, This is not a lie. As a male, I understand you may not have personally experienced this discrimination so feel it can't be true. The different activities you cite may well make the situation worse but don't account for most of the difference.

I've personally had access to salary information 2 different times while working for a Fortune 500 company. In one case, I did ask why there was $5K difference in salaries between 2 newly hired metallurgical engineers who both came straight from college. I had access to the resumes and experience levels of both and saw nothing that would explain the difference. I never received an answer but immediately lost access to the salary offer info for future new hires. No surprise there. I retired last year - doing the same job as a male counterpart in the same department of that same company - still making less than he did even though I had a BA in environmental management and he had only a HS diploma. He did not have any special certification nor had he done this job for years longer than me. I am sure, if I pressed for why, the HR folks would come up with some subjective "reason" they feel I could not disprove. The company had already been sued by a group of female employees about 15 earlier and had to pay compensation.

I don't disagree that professions dominated by women pay less. They do. Both in banking and in the HR professions, you can see this in action. Men tellers used to be the norm. Now, they only show up when a management trainee needs to learn the ropes and only for a short time. As more women move into a field, the lower the job starts to be valued at and paid. Men move out because they are insulted by the low wages. Unfortunately, most women are not normally taught how to negotiate nor how to value their worth so are less likely to ask for more and more likely to accept less than they are worth. HR professionals know this and do everything they can to keep the cycle running. Saves on fixed costs which help them to get larger bonuses each year.

Joe M
July 19, 2014 at 12:03 am

77 cents for every dollar is inaccurate, and reasons for salary differences are explained by women taking time to raise children, and choosing professions that are typically lower paying regardless of who does those jobs. Jennie, you should not reprint this lie.