Michaud pays female staffers more: Debunking right-wing think tank’s claims on equal pay

Ethan Strimling

Ethan Strimling

There is not much I enjoy more than catching right-wing think tanks with their pants down. And I especially love it when we catch them as they are screaming “Democratic hypocrisy!”

A recent column in the Portland Press Herald by the Maine Heritage Policy Center policy analyst Steve Robinson tried to debunk Democratic efforts to pay women equally (why conservatives are fighting so hard to oppose equal pay for women is beyond me, but that’s a topic for a different column).

Robinson claimed U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud paid women on his staff 83 cents on the dollar compared with men. Knowing that right-wing think tanks cherrypick and manipulate data better than most (yes, they are better than others at some things), I decided to investigate for myself.

Turns out, the claim was based on three months of data that didn’t take into account hire dates or full-time or part-time status. When looked at in this more accurate light, the think tank’s data was actually upside down.

In 2013, the average full-time annualized salary for female staffers in Michaud’s congressional office was $55,432. The average salary for male staffers? $49,156.

One thing you learn in this business is, when conservative think tanks lie once, you can assume they are repeating the lie. In case you want to check for yourself, here’s the link.

The big question now becomes, will these groups join the fight to end gender-based income discrimination once they learn men are actually the ones being paid less? Because, just like with abortion, the minimum wage, and welfare benefit cuts, they sure don’t seem to care when it is women who are the ones being hurt.

Posted by Ethan Strimling