Friday, October 19, 2012

Column: Binders of women and ignorance

When Mitt Romney was asked at Tuesday's debate about what he intends to do about the persistent problem of pay inequality between men and women, he coughed up yet another Romneyism, a notorious turn of phrase that manages to both sound strange and capture his glib disdain for the problems of ordinary working Americans. This one -- "binders full of women" -- summarized Romney's solution, which is to ask employers to voluntarily start paying women fairly, an option that has always been available and clearly has yet to work, as women still only make 77 cents to a man's dollar despite making up nearly half the workforce.

In blowing off the issue of pay inequality, Romney overlooks one of the most crucial economic problems of our time. Indeed, Romney's plan to ignore pay inequality while slashing taxes for the wealthiest Americans is exactly the opposite of what this country needs to overcome our sluggish economy. Getting ordinary American women's salaries closer to what men make would do far more to stimulate the economy than letting rich people have even more money to stash. If we want to get the economy moving again, we need to start paying women what they're worth.

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