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July 13, 2004
Dana Milbank, King Of The Non-Stories

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank continues his ongoing sniping at the Bush administration today by revealing the salaries of the entire White House staff and attempting to spin them into a gender-bias story:

The president's men are doing very well. The president's women are doing slightly less well, but still not bad.

With new White House salary figures leaked to The Washington Post and an Excel spreadsheet, crack researcher Margot Williams determined that men in the Bush White House earn an average of $76,624 a year. Women earn $59,917 on average. That means Bush women earn about 78 percent of what Bush men earn.

Wow -- Bush's White House must hate women, right? They only pay them 78% of what they're worth! However, if you read the next paragraph, the picture changes somewhat:

As it happens, that's almost exactly the national average for the gap in pay between the sexes, although it's a good bit below the 88 percent for the nearly 1 million professional and administrative employees in the federal workforce. Also, the White House has the advantage of making all its hires from scratch after the 2000 election.

Well, this puts the differences into a bit more context. Okay, so the White House pretty much reflects the composition of the overall workplace, if not the federal bureaucracy. But still, the disparity proves that the Bush administration discriminates against women -- right?

Not so fast; read the fourth paragraph:

At the White House, the gap has nothing to do with wage discrimination: Women and men with similar titles receive similar pay. Rather, it comes from the dominance of men in high-end jobs; of the 17 White House staffers earning $157,000 -- the top of the pay scale this year -- 12 are men. That's roughly comparable to the 26 percent representation of women in the federal government's 7,000-person Senior Executive Service, according to the Partnership for Public Service.

So there is no gender discrimination in the White House. The hiring pattern reflects that of the federal government as a whole and the private sector.

Two questions:

1. Why write the story in the first place?
2. Why the snide innuendo that discrimination exists, just to deny it in the fourth paragraph?

Milbank ran with the story, I suspect, mainly to publish the Excel file that contains the salary information of all White House employees, probably to annoy the staff and cause management headaches. The second question can easily be answered by reviewing Milbank's intellectually dishonest hit pieces on the Bush administration over the past year.

Addendum: In analyzing this list and making my best assumptions on gender, it would appear that the Bush White House does a better job than Milbank suggests on its hiring practices. Bush employs 236 women and 192 men, and the average overall salaries are $60,759.45 and $74,612.76 respectively, a difference of 19.6%. The overall average salary at the White House is $67,230.78. For those earning above the mean, 67 are women and 83 are men, roughly a 20% gap, or 44.7% representation, not 26%.

It looks like "crack researcher Margot Williams" doesn't know how to do too much analysis ...

UPDATE: Big thanks to Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO's The Corner for the link, and welcome to NRO readers! Have a look around, and I hope you bookmark/blogroll CQ for future visits.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 13, 2004 11:59 AM

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I I saw this Washington Post story in this morning's Star Tribune and was planning on commenting about it, but Captain Ed beat me to it (and probably did it better anyway). [Read More]

Tracked on December 3, 2004 1:45 AM

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