Fair pay would boost economy
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 12:14 pm

To the Editor:

When it comes to fair and equal pay for equal work, 90 members of the NYS Assembly understand the basic issues that underlie the need for the legislation.

They understand that employers who underpay workers are not only skirting existing law, they are guilty of theft of service from those underpaid workers.

The claim is made by some legislators that fair pay laws are “bad for business.”

Some elected officials seem to forget that they were elected to represent – and serve – the real people – men, women and children – who live in those districts. And that the majority of those real people have jobs and pay taxes.

Women account for 47.6 percent of today’s traditional work force.

The NYS Fair Pay Act would help to ensure that the work many of those women do is not stolen from them by employers who skirt current fair pay laws.

Since at least the 1980s we have been waiting for the miracle of “trickle-down” economics to transform our economy.

We have been promised that if we only let the rich and the well-connected accumulate more wealth and pay fewer taxes, that money will magically trickle down to the lower orders because of all the investment and new growth that will take place as the rich share their wealth.

Maybe it is time to try some “trickle-up” economics. Instead of assuring that those at the top get more, perhaps our legislators should focus on the kinds of policies that put people first, making sure that everyone gets a fair and equal wage for equal work. Raising the minimum wage is one place to start. So is enacting fair pay legislation.

Fair pay would also produce more in taxes at every level of the state’s economic ladder, something all legislators would probably enjoy getting their hands on.

If women and their families could get the wages they have fairly earned by their own labor, there would be less demand on the public sector and private charities for help with food, energy, medical and income supports.

The fair pay ball is now in the NYS Senate’s court. Senators can decide to take a stand for the working people in their districts or they can take a pass and allow pay discrimination “on the basis of sex, race and/or national origin” to continue.

Donna Seymour