This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

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The “Equal Pay for Equal Work” Myth Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, April 10 2014
The real fault here lies not with Democrats — who have simply decided (not for the first time) that the truth can be subordinated to their quest for political victory — but with members of the media who legitimize this narrative.

I probably don’t have to tell you, dear reader, that Tuesday was “Equal Pay Day.” I assume that you gathered with your friends and family to commemorate the fundamental injustice of America, a nation where, as I’m sure you heard ad nauseam this week, women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Perhaps you even saw the President of the United States ostentatiously signing an executive order that doesn't actually address inequities in pay, but does the next best thing — collects data on the trend.

If the whole narrative smells a little fishy to you, there’s a good reason why. In 2014, it’s hard to find a measure by which women endure pervasive, systemic discrimination. Their unemployment rate was precisely the same as men in the March jobs report.  Women form the overwhelming majority of America’s college students. And a substantially larger percentage of women than men voted in the 2012 election.

How could it be that members of the fairer sex have managed to make such strides in the worlds of business, education and politics, yet still labor for only about three-fourths of the wages of their male counterparts? Put simply … it can’t.

It’s not that the underlying 77-cents-on-the-dollar statistic is wrong — it’s just that it’s meaningless. The number is derived from comparing the median incomes of all full-time working men with all full-time working women. That measure tells us nothing significant, however, because the kinds of positions members of each gender hold — and the way they participate in the workforce — are dramatically different.

Women and men do not often choose to go into the same lines of work with equal frequency — and the professions that attract more women tend to be lower-paying. That’s not an inherent flaw, however, if it’s the kind of work those women have freely chosen.

We all make tradeoffs in employment decisions. Some people, for instance, will happily work for lower pay in order to have more free time.  Some others might be willing to work more hours per day in order to work fewer days per week. The number of variations on this theme is virtually limitless. The last thing we should expect from a system in which individuals are free to make their own choices is equality of outcomes, especially as measured by the single variable of pay.

Beyond choice of vocation, there are many other factors at work as well. Men are also more prone to pursue dangerous lines of work, many of which pay a premium for the dangers to which employees are exposed. Moreover, men tend to work longer hours on average. And women frequently take time out of the workforce for child rearing, a factor that can diminish the amount of experience they have relative to men. Control for all those factors, and the pay gap virtually vanishes.

Perhaps there are those on the left so desperate to find evidence that America is a country dominated by sexism that they simply seize on the “equal pay” myth without troubling themselves to scrutinize the numbers.  Amongst Democrats who actually work in politics, however, the trend is largely a cynical one; the veracity of the allegations is less important than their ability to drive female voters into the Democratic column come the November elections.

The real fault here lies not with Democrats — who have simply decided (not for the first time) that the truth can be subordinated to their quest for political victory — but with members of the media who legitimize this narrative.

Think about the intellectual implications of the wage discrimination meme for only a moment and you’ll realize how utterly far-fetched it is. In order to believe that women throughout the entire country are the victims of systemic bias, you’d have to believe that businesses across all industries — and all 50 states — are involved in implicit collusion to keep female wages down.

You’d also have to believe that there are no other firms out there willing to pay a premium to scoop up talented, underpaid female workers — this despite the fact that 7.6 million Americans work for businesses owned by women. It is essentially a conspiracy theory — and a rather dumb one even by those debased standards. If conservatives were to advance such drivel, the media would cover it only long enough to mock it.

Over the past century, America’s women have made remarkable strides toward greater equality and opportunity. A Democratic Party that really cared about the fairer sex would be championing that fact. This Democratic Party’s interest in them, however, is purely transactional. A less delicate observer might even be tempted to characterize it as a “war on women.”

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"In nominating Barrett to the Supreme Court, [President Trump] kept his promise by choosing an undaunted originalist -- someone who interprets the Constitution based on the understanding held by its ratifiers.Trump's most profound effect on the Constitution will come when she and the other Trump Justices apply that originalism to the questions of liberty and equality."Read entire article here.…[more]
 
 
—John C. Yoo, Heller Professor Law at U.C. Berkeley School of Law
— John C. Yoo, Heller Professor Law at U.C. Berkeley School of Law
 
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