Washington Confidential

Candidates Helped Debate Moderator Peddle Pay Gap Lie

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist

Contestants at the GOP debate Wednesday night yelped quite a bit about slanted and rude questions from the moderators.

But desperate to curry favor with crucial women voters, they did not challenge the most biased inquiry all evening when CNBC’s Becky Quick asked about the so-called pay gap.

Quick nonchalantly pressed Senator [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] on how he planned to help working women who “still earn just 77 percent of what men earn.”

After all, “I know that you’ve said you’ve been very sympathetic to our cause. But you’ve also you said that the Democrats’ moves to try and change this are the political show votes. I just wonder what you would do as President to try and help in this cause?”

The figure she cited is, of course, a classic liberal lie.

Countless studies have established that if you adjust for obvious variables, such as women leaving the workforce to have kids, the pay gap ranges from five to seven cents. The differences that exist are mostly attributed to factors unrelated to discrimination, such as men being more inclined to negotiate for higher salaries than women.

But Cruz, the self-styled fearless and principled conservative, did not correct Quick. Instead, he rushed to show his tremendous compassion for the plight of working women by saying their lives really suck under Obama.

“Well, we’ve gotta turn the economy around for people who are struggling. The Democrats’ answer to everything is more government control over wages, and more empowering trial lawyers to file lawsuits,” the senator said.

Cruz then volunteered that “in my family there are a lot of single moms in my family. My sister was a single mom, both of my aunts who were a single moms. My mom who’s here today, was a single mom when my father left us when I was 3 years old.”

This would have been a good time to point out that being unmarried is far more detrimental to a woman’s finances than sexism.

Instead, the Texas senator hammered Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton for “talking about wanting to address the plight of working women,” but neglecting to mention “that under Barack Obama, 3.7 million women have entered poverty” and “the median wage for women has dropped $733.”

Carly Fiorina, who as the former CEO of a major company surely knows the pay gap is a myth, then rushed to join the pander fest.

“Becky, it is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman President, when every single policy she espouses, and every single policy of President Obama has been demonstrably bad for women.

“Ninety-two percent — 92 percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women. Senator Cruz is precisely right. Three million women have fallen into poverty under this administration.”

She tried to grovel more but Quick cut her off. And none too soon.

Pandering might seem like good and convenient politicking to candidates but it can easily backfire.

Think about it. Two GOP presidential contenders have effectively deemed the pay gap real. Nobody else last night contradicted them.

So how can Republican candidates possibly justify opposing legislation proposed by Democrats to cure the “problem?” Just last year all the GOP senators voted against the the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have made it easier for workers to sue for pay discrimination.

More troubling is the craven attempt by everyone on stage to curry favor with women voters instead of being honest enough to say widespread pay discrimination is a myth.

The Republicans who colluded with Quick’s lie unwittingly showed some unpleasant truths about themselves.