White House press secretary Jay Carney got defensive when a Reuters reporter asked about questionable gender pay stats touted by the administration Tuesday in the White House press conference.
"Jay, outside economists say that the data that the president is citing, 77 cents phrase, is wrong, regardless of the merits of this push, is — do you –," the Reuters reporter asked before being cut off but a visibly perturbed Carney.
"Well, that's absolutely not the case. There are some economists that have different views on what it means, but to say "economists" — I mean, from Reuters, I would expect something a little more precise, that's just not true" Carney said, eliciting the audible ire of the press corps.
At issue is a stat pushed by the Obama administration to argue for the Paycheck Fairness Act that women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same work, a 23 percent differential.
Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said to reporters on Monday that the White House assertion that women are paid 23 percent less than men for doing the same work was false.
"If I said 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke," Stevenson said. "So let me just apologize and say that I certainly wouldn’t have meant to say that."
[…] The White House has repeatedly cited a study that found that women make 23 percent less than men.
However, that study does not take into account careers pursued or experience levels attained. When those factors are taken into account, the wage gap is less than 7 cents. Some studies have even found that college-educated women earn more than their male peers.
Despite these facts, the White House, which pays women less than men, continues to assert that women earn 23 percent less than men.
Carney acknowledged at the end of his retort that the 77 cent stat is skewed by women who work lower wage jobs.
However, the debunked talking point that women earn 23 percent less for the exact same work continues to be trotted out by Senate Democrats and the Obama administration.
REPORTER: Jay, outside economists say that the data that the president is citing, 77 cents phrase, is wrong, regardless of the merits of this push, is — do you — (inaudible) —
JAY CARNEY: Well, that's absolutely not the case. There are some economists that have different views on what it means, but to say "economists" — I mean, from Reuters, I would expect something a little more precise. The — that's just not — that's just not — that's just not true.
The facts are — the facts are that, you know, women make 70 cents (sic) for every dollar that men make. There are a variety of reasons for that, there are —
REPORTER: Are those facts, though, seriously? Are those facts? Because that — (inaudible) —
CARNEY: Yes. That's based on census data.
REPORTER: — over the last couple days — (inaudible).
CARNEY: That's based on census data. Now, there are — has been an important discussion in the last several days and even prior to that about what that — what this data represent and how much of that is due to a lack of transparency in the pay that women receive versus men, the lack that the kinds of things that ensure that women who do the same work get the same pay that men get, and also things that have to do with the fact that women tend to fill lower-wage jobs