Every time we have equal pay conversations, I find a lot of logical fallacies and flawed arguments. On both sides people typically take.

Like the soccer player, Hope Solo, demanding equal pay. The argument in the instance she uses is correct: the women’s US national team makes more money than the men’s, so they should be paid more than the men.

But when people expand her argument to all of our professional athletes…

That’s hilarious. It makes zero economic sense.

More people watch men’s sports. Thus, more advertisers pay for spots (and more for those advertising spots) during those games than women’s sports games. Which means the men’s teams make more money. Which means those teams have more to spend on top talent. Which means the most talented men’s players are going to (and should) make more than women’s players. (For example: the discrepancy between WNBA players and NBA players pay – and how much revenue the sport generates)

Then there’s the whole separate argument of whether athletes should be paid more or less than they are now. More if you think the associations hoard too much of the revenue the sports generate, less if you think nobody should be paid millions for playing a game. But that argument ignores market economics – people want to watch and are willing to pay to watch sports, thus the market has decided that athletes are worth millions.

Then there’s the hypocrisy of the NY Times. They had a male executive editor. Then they gave the role to a woman to be more progressive. Except… they paid her a lot less than the man was making the year prior.

Now, they tried to defend themselves with “seniority” and “tenure” but those are both bullshit. In all industries. Years of service shouldn’t mean a damn thing. How well you perform at your job should determine your worth to the organization, and thus your paycheck.

We need more merit-based pay. And transparency in compensation. Across the board. Look at professional athletes – their salaries are known, so their agents can compare their player’s contributions to players like him in the sport and fairly demand similar compensation.

Thanks to some services like payscale.com and salary.com we know more than we did about people with similar jobs 30 years ago. But we need full transparency.

Tying pay/bonuses to department/company performance is awesome. Incentive for everyone to do well to make more money for everyone.

In fact, I’m for eliminating Wall St (government-approved gambling) and tying executives pay to performance of their company, not their stocks. But that’s another topic for another post.

There should be equal pay for equal work, but the statistics being used are massaged to get us enraged. It’s not job specific and doesn’t account for women leaving the workforce before reaching higher positions in their companies.

Let’s fight for merit pay and equal pay for equal work, not a blind “equal pay.”

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