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    • Making the Rich and Powerful Work for Everyone
      The philosopher John Rawls suggested that the only ethical society is one which we design before we know what position we will hold in it. If you don’t know whether you’ll be born the child of janitor or a billionaire, black or white, you may view social justice differently than when you know that your [...]
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What is your female empowering equivalent to these songs?

Saturday: We’re in the basement

The B-52’s Legal Tender:
We’re in the basement, learning to print
All of it’s hot!
10-20-30 million ready to be spent
We’re stackin’ ‘em against the wall
Those gangster presidents
Livin’ simple and trying to get by
But honey, prices have
shot through the sky
So I fixed up the basement with
What I was a-workin’ with
Stocked it full of jelly jars
And heavy equipment
We’re in the basement…
10-20-30 million dollars
Ready to be spent

Walk into the bank, try to pass that trash
Teller sees and says
“Uh-huh-that’s fresh as
grass.”
See the street pass under your feet
In time to buy the latest
model get-away Jeep

So I fixed up the basement with
What I was a-workin’ with
Stocked it full of jelly jars
And heavy equipment
We’re in the basement,
Learning to print
All of it’s hot
All counterfeit

I’m in the basement today trying to finish this sucker before the Superbowl tomorrow and Brook’s Birthday on Monday.  There’s a brandy new TV to pick up.  The old TV works just fine but I’m frequently forced to watch Josh and Drake for hours on end and I can’t take it anymore.  Brook now has an art studio and there are 3 packs of boxes in the car from Ikea with nifty cubbies for all her stuff that I can now get out of the living room.  But before that all goes in, there is flooring to put down and trim to paint.  I don’t know if I can face another brush and can of paint but I must have courage.

In the meantime, I’m still thinking about the impact of the Lilly Ledbetter act, that will allow women to sue for wage discrimination.  In order to make use of this law, you have to be able to prove that there has been wage discrimination in the first place.  But the disclosure provision wasn’t included in the Ledbetter Act.  It is included in the Paycheck Fairness Act, which took a dive.  SO, let’s recap:  You can sue provided you know you’ve been screwed.  But your employer has no obligation to let you see whether you’ve been screwed.  I guess you’ll just have to put on your sleuth hats and investigate whether your colleagues are living well or not.  For example, does your male colleague at your level have a stay at home wife when you can’t afford one?  (we *all* need a wife)  Is he taking vacations when you  take staycations?  How many new cars does he have?  Are you living in a townhouse while he lives in a single family dwelling?  Listen to him at lunch.  Does he complain about having to mow his big yard on the weekend?

Meanwhile, Alegre had an interesting statistic the other day.  For women such as myself who graduated from college in the mid 80’s, it is estimated that we lag our male colleagues by a cumulative amount of of ~$440,000.  I suspect this is the real reason the Paycheck Fairness Act didn’t get passed.  It was probably one of those “Oh, S%^&!” moments for American employers.  They’d be in a heap of trouble if they suddenly had to start paying that money.  But then again, paying women less and reducing pay disparity overtime by keeping men’s wage increases small has been a real hallmark of movement conservatism’s free capitalism.  Wages have been sort of stagnant since the mid-seventies when women started to enter the workforce in large numbers.  As this post points out (h/t lambert), the whole conservative argument boils down to one thing: keeping wages as low as possible.  Every conservative argument can be reduced to that goal like physics can be reduced to F=ma.

Heidi Li writes that it is time for a new emancipation movement focused on women.  After all, traditionally, by the time women get equality in any area, everyone else will have already preceded us.  So, why not just cut to the chase and emancipate women first and the rest will fall into line?  It’s stupid and frustrating that we even have to do this in the 21st century.  But the forces of feudalism never die seemingly.  It’s going to be another protracted struggle against greed and tyranny but getting women on an equal footing is going to have short and long term benefits for everyone.  And let’s face it: right now, “we’re in the basement”.

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