Campaign Issues – Equal Pay

As our next political campaign season begins to descend upon us like a bad rendition of that not so stellar John Carpenter movie “The Fog” (1980) I have begun to think about some of the artificially inseminated “campaign issues.” And no, I do not have the foggiest notion of how many I will be able to address over the next year and change.

A disgracefully large portion of the American voting public are simply ignorant of all things political. Had I a single dime for each time I have heard people say “It’s just politics,” I would have been able to retire comfortably before I was fifty. The average American seems incapable of understanding that every dollar given to any level of government in the form of taxes or license fees or any other justification a government might come up with directly impacts my ability to raise the salaries of my employees or to invest in new equipment. As a hiring manager in the largest company of its type in this country and as a small business owner for more than a quarter century, I have always been aware of that reality—which is why I closed my Nevada company in face of the Governors mammoth new tax bill.

Far more often than not, “campaign issues” lack the solid substance of even a bowl of Jello but are created in order to generate any level of interest possible from the masses who might be motivated to actually vote. And what is interesting to me is that the party faithful – of any and all political parties – take the pronouncements of politicians as gospel. Barely a handful of would be voters bother to question the validity of the content of campaign speeches, and even fewer bother to monitor the actions and voting records of those who do get elected.

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Initially, I will focus on the Democratic and Republican candidates because the last time we had an American president who was not from either of those two parties was Andrew Johnson in 1864. The Democratic list of alleged campaign issues are easier to address because the Democrats are much clearer in defining their “issues” than are the Republicans. At the outset of this campaign season the Republicans have, in general, reverted to what has become their single but much more complex campaign issue: Other Republicans.

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Since the Democrats have but one true candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the entire body of “true believers” will back her, I will start with this one of her “campaign issues”; Equal Pay.

Equal Pay for Equal Work.

It really sounds like a great issue.

Or does it? It is truly an egalitarian goal… IN CONCEPT.

But let’s look at this wrong-minded idea a bit closer. Why do I say it is “wrong minded”? Because in close examination, the underlying argument is that all people are interchangeable parts in a huge (government run) machine.

Having hired and fired people for nearly a half century, that has not been my experience. I have seen the “interchangeable parts” mentality at work in the workplace. A certain engineering firm that I worked for as an independent consultant was famous for laying off entire divisions of engineers when their markets ebbed, followed by open hiring (first come first hired) when their markets improved. Not a great way to plan a career.

Everyone has biases. Everyone. In the very rare occasion where I might have to choose between two very similar potential hires, i.e., same schools, same general background, same age, etc. – one with a spouse and a family one without – and one happens to be female and one happens to be male – where is my bias?

The first thing to understand in my decision-making process is the marital status, number of offspring, or any other personal component that does not impact any component of the job requirement means absolutely nothing to me – to include race, religion, or whom they choose to share their private lives with. My responsibility as hiring manager for an employer and my responsibility to my own company and my own customers and employees is to ensure the viability of my organization and our collective ability to support our customers; those people who ultimately pay our salaries.

The underlying argument is that “all people are created equal.” Really?

Technically, that may be true if one were to focus on that span of time between “Darlin’, I love you” and the inevitable “Was it good for you?” But in reality, differences begin to occur shortly thereafter, with more variables than a theoretical mathematician could possibly deal with. Such is the nature of the unfathomable plans of Our Creator.

If a job description boiled down to “Push a button at the right time,” then perhaps the hiring manager would have less bias in the hiring process than would a hiring manager trying to fill the job description of “Must be willing and able to create the next generation of secure communications.”

It has been widely reported that Hilary Clinton does not practice what she preaches; within her own organization, men are better paid than are women, with the possible exception of her “personal assistant.”

“Campaign Issues” are created by politicians for one reason: to divide We The People.

Hilary Clinton does not believe what she preaches. Period. And without qualification.

Possibly, the more harmful aspect of this inane theory of “equal pay” is the intrusion of the federal government into private enterprise.

My first (moderately successful) company was a software and services company spawned out of my spare bedroom in the shadow of Silly-Con Valley California, and its birth just happened to coincide with the rise of the first “internet bubble.” At that time and place, highly qualified technical people changed jobs more frequently than the frequency at which those brave men and women who put their lives on the line to defend this country have to change their socks.

A component and savvy technical person could join a fledgling company long enough to gain valuable experience and knowledge to leverage it into a higher paying job just down the street.

One of my portage rose from less than $15 thousand per year in his first job to over $80 thousand in about four years.

To espouse this ridiculous theory of “equal pay” is to discount and deny the unique worth of the individual. It is to tell the worker who applies their own unique combination of skill, intelligence, and commitment to excel that there is no motivation to attempt to better themselves or their position in life. It is a deliberately divisive and debilitating load of crap.

Can anyone think of any organization where such an inane employment practice is a reality? Can you think of a work environment where, once hired, it makes no difference what you do or how hard you work or how creative and valuable your insights and suggestions might be? You will receive the same compensation and recognition as the chronically tardy and occasionally inebriated moron in the next office.

Actually, I can. It is called the United States Government.

And one truly must wonder if that reality is the core source of that time honored tradition of “Going Postal.”

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