California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock recently cited $1/hour jobs and the "opportunity to negotiate" as reasons that women are better off without the protection of equal pay laws.
At a debate last week between McClintock and Dr. Bob Derlet, a Sonora Democrat, one voter brought up the topic of equal pay for women, and asked the Republican incumbent his daughter should make less than his son.
McClintock recalled that his "biggest break" had been when a local newspaper editor paid him a wage that worked out to about $1 per hour.
"It was 25 cents per column inch," he explained. "That came out to about a dollar an hour at a time when the minimum wage was about $5 per hour. If that editor had been forced to pay me what he paid the other columnists, if he'd been forced to pay me the minimum wage, I would have never gotten that job. I never would have gotten that opportunity. I would never have gotten that break."
McClintock added that he did not want to "deny that opportunity to anyone, regardless of their gender, their age, their experience."
"I believe that every person ought to have the freedom to negotiate terms that satisfactory to them and to their employer without some third party butting his nose into the transaction," he opined. "That's called freedom. It works and it's time we put it back to work."
Derlet responded by calling for Congress to pass a law against gender pay discrimination and rejected the notion that people should make $1/hour in "starter jobs."
"Everybody ought to have the opportunity to negotiate," McClintock countered. "When government imposes a one-size-fits-all formula, it denies people the opportunity to seek those terms that are most important to them."
"Bob, you and I aren't omniscient," the congressman quipped. "We can't decide for every person what are their individual needs. That's what you're trying to do with these wage laws. Let people have the freedom to negotiate themselves."
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