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Comparable Worth Concept

October 01, 1985

Picus' article exhibits the perennial political approach. Big Brother knows best. If only that were so we would not have bureaucratic costs continually outstripping the inflationary rates, and subsequent budget deficits.

With the usual myopia of politics, Picus would have us believe that bureaucratic savvy can transcend economic reality. And, as is so often the political approach, she would have us treat the symptoms rather than the cause. That is, establish (by government edict, probably) a job-rating bureaucracy that can equate the "comparable worth" of "an executive secretary and a painter, of a clerk and a garage attendant." (One must note that the implication is quite strong that the "decision makers" who are jumping aboard her bandwagon are predominantly government employees. Naturally.)

Picus decries the marketplace being the ultimate solution because, apparently, women are prone to being "steered into 'nurturing' jobs." That does not make those jobs worth more money, or less, than any other given job. These jobs are worth "more" or "less" because the supply is more or less than the demand. And productivity is, or at least should be, the final adjudicator.

What Picus, and other advocates of Big Brotherism, wish not to recognize is that the person is not the measure of worth in the job market--the job (productivity) is the measure. And the only measure. If it is an easy job, or one that is attractive for other reasons, and draws more than ample applicants, it will be a low-paying job. Higher skills, less applicants mean a higher wage.

Don't try to foist "feminization of poverty" on the marketplace. Instead, put that effort into advocating the worth of the individual as perceived by the individual. (Not as perceived by the government.)

If you do not want a low-paying job as a "librarian, nurse, social worker," then attain the skills to be other than one of the masses. Develop your skills to warrant a more demanding and higher paying job and don't sit back, complain and let Big Brother take care of you.

HARRY A. BRAND JR.

Anaheim

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