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Wage Gap? What do YOU think?

Wage Gap? What do YOU think?

Depending on whether one looks at global statistics or American statistics, there is a significant difference in men and women’s typical earnings. The focus here will be solely on data collected for the United States. I became extremely interested in this after a conversation I had with someone on campus so I figured I would share what I learned. The numbers tell a story but, where the numbers come from is a much more interesting one.

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The gender wage gap in America has tremendously evolved over the past few decades. The economy is no longer a battle between the sexes but a comprehensive desire for equal opportunity. The market ultimately provides the opportunities to find satisfying employment conditions that fulfill individually unique needs and wants. The fact that there still remains a gap is a matter of opinion when taking into consideration different causes and effects of life associated with gender and the workforce. Education is an imperative factor when considering the wage gap. Logically, as the level of education increases, the level of earnings should increase as well. This must also take into account, the several different fields of study; a first-year female teacher’s salary cannot be compared to a senior level male engineer’s salary. The level of education, experience, and field of employment vary across the wide spectrum of careers and education far too drastically for a comparison of the sort to be considered rational. Exploring the gender differences between education/field of expertise, consumer differences, and familial obligations, can paint a comprehensive picture of the wage gap when comparatively examined.

Pursuit of higher education has always been viewed as crucial when discussing financial security but not all degrees provide equal foundations for the future. Women tend to earn more college and graduate degrees than men, but their objectives generally place them in occupations such as education, healthcare, and service industries. A study in 2010 of single, childless urban workers ages 22-30 conducted by the Reach Advisors Research Firm concluded that women actually earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts since the economy increasingly gears itself towards knowledge-based jobs. The concurrent unemployment rates are consistently higher among men ages 16+ (9.3%) than they are among women ages 16+ (8.3%). Men are typically hit harder by recessions because they tend to work in fields like construction, manufacturing, and trucking, which are disproportionately affected by bad economic conditions. Similar fields of the workforce are comparatively even when accounting for field, education, demand, and levels of expertise.

Gender relations play a systematic role in the division of labor, work, income, wealth, education, productive inputs, publicly provided goods, etc. Men and women differ as consumers, risk-takers, and other aspects of economic behavior. Women, as a gender, tend to gravitate towards jobs with fewer risks, comfortable conditions, regular work hours, greater flexibility, and additional personal fulfillment. While the opposite sex tends to go for positions that involve physical labor, outdoor work, overnight shifts, and dangerous conditions, one of the main reasons for higher pay in comparison. Men, on the other hand, tend to spend an average of 8.75 hours per day at work while women spend an average of 8.01 hours per day. When it comes to describing the two genders as consumers, the two worlds differ immensely. Women play a key role in the economy because, even though they occupy approximately half of the workforce, they also own the roles of caregivers at home. As consumers, women live with a good deal of pressure on a daily basis and have to accept responsibility for the demands of a family if they are single parents or have an unemployed spouse. Men, as consumers, are seeing a rise in the markets because they are shopping more than ever. Gender roles have become muddled and families are doing what it takes to male ends meet.

Changing life patterns interact with women’s ability to fully participate in the labor market. Even though women are entitled more freedoms, choices are still constrained by the need to coordinate child raising with careers, balance spouses’ career aspirations with their own, and the need to fulfill other family roles such as caretakers for aging parents or sick/disabled relatives. The obligations women face as members of society often affect their career choices, causing another rift in the wage gap.

Familial obligations, consumer differences, and educational expertise explain the majority of the wage gap difference. The current gender wage gap has nothing to do with the sexes or discrimination but a shift in roles and responsibilities coupled with higher education standards. The gap can easily be closed once extenuating factors are accounted for and calculated.

Price Controls in A Free Market

Price Controls in A Free Market

“There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

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This has been a staple of economic education for years. Nothing is free and the thought that something can be given for free, with no relative cost, crosses over beyond the realm of naivety into ignorance and unrealistic expectations. Price controls, the establishment and maintenance of maximum price levels for basic goods and services by the government, are sold as a possible reality when in truth, they come with dangerous repercussions if not controlled intelligently. Politicians assure and guarantee a brilliant vision of possibilities in order to gain the necessary public vote only to intermittently generate unattainable misconceptions for the economy. The fantasy of a free lunch is the concept trumpeted loudly with gusto, and price controls deliver that fantasy until the truth of difference between prices and costs is revealed, the truth of supply and demand is explained, and a free market economy becomes a vision in place of a reality.


Prices and costs are two completely separate entities that are commonly mistaken for each other. Prices are signals that communicate the realities of relative scarcities and relative costs of production. Costs do not vanish with disregard and evasion but rather, persist and compound repeatedly, causing escalations of other means such as taxes, prices, deterioration in quality, or the creation of black markets. Promising something for nothing is as counterproductive as trying to control the electric issue in California. The cost of running electricity through a house does not diminish just because the government lowers the price; instead it begins to create a deficit because what is being expended is greater than what is being replenished. “… price controls do nothing more than change the monetary signals, without changing the real costs of anything.” Issues such as rent control, a law placing a maximum price or rent ceiling on what landlords may charge, have actually been proven to compensate for insufficiencies in the housing market. However, legally set minimums of hourly rates known as the minimum wage, will result in a surplus of unemployed workers who are willing to work at the higher rate. Logically, the reduced number of jobs available instantly allows employers to operate with expanding selectivity. Subsequently, laborers who fail to satisfy new selective requirements, suffer immediate expropriation from the labor pool, thus increasing the unemployment rate substantially. Price controls are usually imposed in order to keep prices from rising but if allowed, those prices would rise and fall in accordance with supply and demand.


When the government imposes price controls, prices are kept artificially low. However, for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction resulting in reduced quantities supplied. Price controls always lead to a shortage since the economy is fully compliant to the laws of supply and demand when allowed to operate as such. Producers will not supply as equivalent a quantity of product at reduced rates as they would at elevated rates and the opposite is true; consumers will demand more when the price is kept artificially low by price controls and will purchase anything low-priced in wasteful excess causing a shortage. In the absence of price controls, a shortage is usually a passing trend and prices are free to rise and fall. When prices rise, consumers purchase less, producers produce more, and the gap is closed therefor eliminating the shortage. Price controls however, prevent shortages from ending and prevent a so-called free market from functioning to its full potential.


In a free market economy, prices rise because the amount demanded exceeds the amount supplied at the existing products and vice-a-versa; in a free market, prices fall because the amount supplied exceeds the amount demanded at the existing prices. When the government intervenes and sets a price ceiling, a maximum price set lower than the equilibrium price, a shortage occurs. A surplus ensues when the government sets a price floor, a minimum price set above the equilibrium, causing a decrease in consumer desire to spend. The real goal in any situation in which the government would like to instill price controls, should be reduced government spending. Expending more resources than what are available results in a deficit ensuing debt. This debt cannot be remedied with taxes and price controls but the creation and implementation of a budget and spending plan. Thomas Sowell said, “Economic policies need to be analyzed in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the hopes that inspired them.” Don’t promise a free lunch, something that is non-existent, in hopes of appealing to the naïve masses and avoiding the actual issues. The appeal of price controls is understandable but its failure to protect consumers is not. Reducing the amount of trade in an economy and creating incentives that lead to wasted resources hardly qualifies as development. The consequence is perplexity and confusion of economics, misunderstanding of concepts, and inevitably less confidence in the government and the economy.


Economists, in general, do not approve the use of price controls except for brief periods during emergencies. The concept was never designed for long-term usage because it distorts reality and the allocation of resources. Price controls, intended to improve efficiency in a market that fails to achieve optimal productivity due to mitigating contexts, tend to rather create imbalances when inflicted upon an otherwise proficient and viable market.

 
The Supply & Demand of Quality Education & Educators

The Supply & Demand of Quality Education & Educators

Education in America’s public school system has shockingly disappointed the nation’s future. Arguments attacking the private school system have been founded as well, claiming the private system is experiencing just as much controversy; however the documentary entitled “Waiting for Superman” focused solely on the Public School system with its strengths and downfalls. The statistics of students and correlating proficiency-testing scores in America are depressingly below global standards. The design of the public system and its educators is the heart of the problem. It does not compensate for the downfalls of a lazy, unmotivated teacher nor does it reward a motivated, influential and dedicated teacher. The documentary, although controversial as most documentaries are, brought to light an existing issue requiring immediate focus. Our children of today are the world’s leaders of tomorrow. How can educators guarantee an educational reformation to provide more success in our children’s attitudes regarding the standards of their education? The film focused on five students who are mentally and emotionally focused on achieving college educations despite the roadblocks set by location, demographics, and attitudes, and the major figures struggling against complacency to transform predetermined failure to all-encompassing success. In a global economy, the success of education is pertinent to success as a nation. The demand for high-class education is undoubtedly higher than the supply of positively enforced quality educational facilities causing a shortage in the most important facet of success… education. As a meek alternative, a lottery for education has become the only hope and unfortunately so. The supply and demand of quality education and educators, the required assets in order to achieve success, and the individuals paving the controversial road to achieving success, prove that a failure in education is a failure in the global economy.

America has only a miniscule amount of time left to reach the goal of one hundred percent proficiency in reading and math. The “No Child Left Behind” program has not been a success and the performance gap between America and the international world is dismal at best. The demand for higher quality education in the nation is superseding the supply of valuable educational facilities. The amount of money spent on education has more than doubled since 1971 and test scores nation-wide have remained inadequately low. Following five students across the nation, the documentary focuses on the reality reducing low-income urban area children’s potential to a cataclysmic failure with success solely contingent on the fate of winning the lucky ticket. Success has been cheapened to nothing more than a lottery of who attains the opportunity to succeed and who is condemned to a mess of abysmal schooling. The eagerness to learn in young students is clearly being dampened by overcrowding in schools, poor teachers, and administrative neglect. This does not bode well for the future of the American economy. Americans are not keeping pace with the increased educational requirements of this age of advanced technology. In only a few short years, if educational supply of quality education does not begin to meet the current high demand, there will be a surplus of highly-skilled high paying jobs that we will not have the educated populace to fill and as the demand for such educated positions increases, the supply of workforce will have to come from other countries subsequently with dire consequences for the middle class and the entire U.S. economy. A sincere transformation of the educational system is required in order to produce higher levels of success.

The need for “good teachers” has never been more apparent in our school systems. A non-effective teacher on average will cover only fifty percent of the required curriculum in one school year; alternatively, an effective teacher is capable of covering one hundred and fifty percent meaning in one school year, students achieve about one and a half year’s worth of learning from the strongest teachers and only about half a year from the weakest. Unfortunately, there are no incentives for good or effective teachers and no consequences for bad or ineffective teachers. Evidence that the most experienced teachers may not be the most effective teachers should prompt policy re-examination. If a teacher’s effectiveness as an educator is not being taken into account, students are ultimately paying a price increasingly more detrimental to the nation than reducing the nation’s teaching force. The concept of tenure, although beneficial to effective teachers, can be considered evil when applied to mediocrity. Tenure makes no distinctions between effective and lazy work and offers the worst teachers the same rights as influential teachers and guarantees a job for life. The required assets for improving the education system have been explored and introduced by individual reformers but unfortunately, met with extreme prejudice.

Michelle Rhee is a very charismatic but controversial individual in the reform against poor education. Considered to be one of the leads in educational reform, Rhee has always had one motto: put students first. In 2007, she was assigned the Chancellorship of the D.C. public school system and immediately began to create a tidal wave of reform. Instilling on the educational system that children require the skills and knowledge demanded to compete in a global environment. During her term, becoming the most discussed reformer, she fired every objectively bad teacher and the principals that inherently protected them and their jobs. She closed failing schools, stirring up major debates, and confronted the teachers’ union. She decided that children needed to receive the education they deserved, and in turn began to clean house of ineffective leadership. As an influential reformer, Rhee understood that this would be her downfall but continued to push for educational improvement and reformation. The trials and consequences of pushing for controversial school reforms will always be apparent because there will always be those individuals or organizations who will impede accomplishment for selfish reasons. There are currently several individuals and organizations pushing for the recognition of fantastic educators and the absolution of bad teachers. Economic growth has raised the value of education and increased the importance of high quality and effective education. The goal is a successful improvement of the teaching and learning in schools nation-wide.

The concept of reform based on school choice has not led to substantial improvements in the educational system. What separates the current reform from others is the degree of which millions of American students are suffering, dropping out, or being labeled as failures at an early age. Our children’s futures depend on good and efficient teachers. In every other career field, employees are acknowledged for exceptional contributions and teachers/educators should be no different. The success of our students depends on the success of our educators and should not be determined solely on zip codes. Students are assigned to public schools based upon location and this forces far too many children forced into chronically failing educations when every student should have equal access to excellence in education. There are reformers every day pushing for excellence and equal educational opportunities. The future depends on this. The required assets for success begin with the educational system and those governing the statutes of academia. Educators should have the recognition for excellent leadership and alternatively the exposure for weak and insufficient educational skills. The supply and demand for education in our country needs to be re-examined and repaired with haste. Not only will our children face economic challenges for which they will not have the tools to succeed, but also they will be forced into economic change that requires the American jobs currently available for the students of tomorrow to be ripped from their hands and placed into other countries’ power for lack of educational equivalence. Teaching is an art that requires full dedication because without teachers, the world cannot benefit from the likes of doctors, lawyers, etc. We place our children’s futures in the capable hands of educators every day in order to prepare them for the economic whirlwind that beckons at the world. The concept of preparing children to fail is outrageous and no individual who does not have the heart to teach should be allowed in the profession. Good teachers are the heart of success and must be acknowledged. Educational reformation in America’s school system is crucial to the future success of America. We must keep and praise effective teachers and on the other hand, dismiss those who will not be a benefit to the growing and thirsty minds of our nation’s future leaders.