Mike’s Deli

Yeah, the fix was in.  National standards for every possible wage contract: Salaried, hourly, on and off the books, were dictated by the boys hanging out in the backroom of Mike’s Patriarchal Delicatessen on Fifth Street  in between hands of canasta.

Admittedly, the wage fixinOffice_Hours_vintage 4-5-2010g was rather clumsy.  Employers were forced to shell out top dollar for the labor of men, able-bodied or otherwise.  And computing the discount was comically simple: Non-men received seventy-something cents on the dollar.  No allowance was made for ability, initiative, or personal preference.  The noncompliant met Big Lou.

But with the secret out and the card playing clique evicted, wages can once again rise and fall on the market tide of talent and demand.  Employers will soon learn that hires are not interchangeable.  All those attributes that create individuality – perseverance, detail, honesty – also favor one hire over another.  And reward one over another.  Prospective employees will quickly grasp that it’s not just capability but desirability.   All income is earned income, there is no second place, and no patience for merely showing up sober.

The marketplace provides an equal footing not outcome and rewards initiative over gender.  Opportunities open for the industrious to advance and succeed.  The diligent are blessed, the indolent shorted, and cushy space-occupying benefit-laden nine-to-five slots dwindle.  The objective is profit.  Entitlement is too costly.

Individuality necessitates inequality, but inequality is not inferiority.  And forcing equality through law where it does not naturally occur without the law results in greater inequality.  Just as mandating a specific pay rate does not guarantee a job for that pay rate.  If legislated, entry-level opportunities for women will evaporate.  The Law is force – a blunt tool.  It cannot provide equality.  Only punishment.

Equal work equal pay?  Sure, for men.  Any laborer or craftsman able to recite lines and feign emotion should receive the same multi-mega-dollar payout of a whiny Hollywood starlet.  Unfortunately, the ugly and the cranky clamor for the equality where inequality does not exist.  What they really want is uniformity.  They cannot be men and they’re unhappy as women.