Trump’s Federal Reserve Pick Says the Government Has No Place in Closing the Gender Pay Gap

“I want that to be decided by the market.”

On Sunday, President Donald Trump’s pick for the Federal Reserve, Stephen Moore, admitted he was “embarrassed” by some of his past writings deriding women. Still, when asked to clarify what he meant by his writings on gender equity and the pay gap, Moore insisted, “I want that to be decided by the market. I don’t want government to intervene in those kinds of things.” 

ABC’s This Week asked Moore to respond to a 2014 National Review column in which he wrote, “What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men? We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability.” In one column, he took a stand against equal pay for female athletes, arguing against “equal pay for inferior work.”

Moore has offered something resembling an apology, saying, “Frankly, I didn’t even remember writing some of these they were so long ago. They were humor columns, but some of them weren’t funny, so I am apologetic.” But he was also clear he does not think it is the government’s business to ensure equal pay. (The Trump administration froze an Obama administration rule to collect more information from employers, broken down by race, ethnicity, and gender, though a federal judge last week reinstated it.)

Moore says the economic growth will close the pay gap on its own. “The way to oppose the wage gap is by growing the economy,” he said. “I think prosperity and economic growth is a women’s issue.” 

It’s a theme throughout Moore’s writings. As Mother Jones recently unearthed, Moore has argued in 2012 and 2013 that working poor should pay more taxes and that income inequality can be solved by creating more billionaires. 

ThinkProgress notes that the “wage gap actually increased slightly over the first year of Trump’s administration, going from an average disadvantage of $10,086 in 2016 to $10,169. Women earned just 80.5 percent in 2017, on average, of what men were paid.” Meanwhile, the pay gap is much worse for women of color, and a growing economy doesn’t help: In 2017, census data showed women appeared to slightly close the pay gap because of wage stagnation for men, but that was only true for white and Asian women—wages for Hispanic women flattened, and pay for African American women dropped off.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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