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article imageTodd Akin says employers should be allowed to pay women less

By JohnThomas Didymus     Oct 2, 2012 in Politics
Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), the GOP Senate candidate who gained notoriety after he said women could not get pregnant from "legitimate rape," says employers should have the "freedom" to pay women less than men as part of the ideal of "free enterprise."
In a video released by his opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), whom Akin described recently as not "ladylike," Akin, speaking at a town hall meeting Thursday, in response to a question about his stance on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, that favors equal pay for women, said: "I believe in free enterprise. I don't think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don't pay." He added: "I think it's about freedom If somebody wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that's fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble."
Talking Points Memo reports that gender discrimination in compensation has been illegal in the United States since the 1963 Equal Pay Act was passed. Akin in his comment suggests that employers should not be barred from gender discrimination in compensation.
The Huffington Post comments that the gender gap in pay persists in the US in spite of the 1963 Equal Pay Act. Women continue to be paid on the average less than men for equal work. The median female worker's earnings is only just about 80 percent of the median male workers' earnings, compared to 75 percent in 1989, the US Labor Department reports. The Huffington Post reports that a study shows that female chief executives earn only about 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn.
TPM reports that the McCaskill campaign issued a statement condemning Akin's remarks:
"First, Todd Akin said Claire's not 'ladylike' because she's standing up for working families, now he's opposed to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act because he believes employers should have the freedom to discriminate against their female employees."
Another McCaskill spokesperson, said: "Once again, it's clear that the problem isn't what Todd Akin says, the problem is what Todd Akin believes."
TPM provides a transcript of the video:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: "You voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?"
AKIN: "Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I'm making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don't think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don't pay. I think it's about freedom. If someone wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that's fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble."
Think Progress explains that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill President Obama signed into law. The law makes it easier for women to challenge gender discrimination in pay. Akin and three House Republicans voted against the bill, Think Progress reports.
Republicans also blocked, early this summer, another bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, that would increase penalties for employers who pay women less than men
More about Rep Todd Akin, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, 1963 Equal Pay Act, sen claire mccaskill, Paycheck Fairness Act
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