By Antonio Graceffo
“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” said President Ronald Reagan during his inaugural address.
Biden’s executive orders on equity will not make things more equal. On the contrary, they create more socialism and government control.
On Feb. 16, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Further Advancing Racial Equity. Like Biden’s other executive orders on the subject, it ostensibly aims to make job opportunities the same for all groups and promote a “strong, fair” workforce. However, the word “equity” is being misrepresented in these presidential mandates.
Equity should mean “the quality of being fair and impartial.” However, the administration has a plan to award 15 percent of federal procurement dollars to small businesses “owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.” This suggests that despite White House claims, the same opportunities will not be given to all groups. The government already has a procurement procedure in place that awards contracts to the most efficient companies. This new initiative means that the most efficient companies may be overlooked based on their racial profile.
On the employment front, the order calls for an end to “algorithmic discrimination” which occurs when automated systems reject some applicants because of race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, or other demographic profile information. At the same time, the president is requiring all federal agencies to create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team.
Following suit, many private companies, particularly those who receive federal money, are now requiring demographic information from job applicants in order to meet DEI goals. As of last month, NASDAQ rules require companies to “publicly disclose board-level diversity statistics annually using a standardized template.” Those who do not meet certain standards must “explain why they do not have diverse directors.”
Critics of DEI say it forces hiring based on race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, and other demographic profile information, which has historically been illegal in the United States.
The executive order augments the powers of the White House Gender Policy Council, whose mission is to “reduce poverty and promote economic growth.” The White House touted its large spending bills, including the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), claiming that they improve equity and help to end poverty among minorities.
In a March 15 statement, the Biden administration announced steps to close “gender and racial wage gaps.” Among these, the administration tasked the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs with auditing companies for wage gaps because of claims that men are paid more than women—and particularly more than women of color.
The White House stated that in 2020, female workers were paid 83 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. What claims like this don’t show is that they compare the salaries of all women to all men—rather than men and women in the same position. Even studies that make a comparison within a specific industry do not necessarily compare women and men who do identical jobs.
If it were true that equally qualified women are being paid less than men, one would think we would see profit-driven companies predominantly hiring women of color in order to save money on payroll and undercut competitors.
The fact that this is not happening suggests that the gender pay gap claim may not be true. And if the claim is not true, government money allotted to remedy this situation is money ill-spent.
Steering the Country Toward Socialism
History has shown that it is free markets that grow economies and reduce poverty. Government regulations and spending often simply transfer money from taxpayers to non-payers, which creates stagnation, not growth.
Long-term, the only way for people to get out of poverty is by increasing the value of the product of their labor. Handouts will not achieve this aim. On the contrary, the president’s many spending plans are steering the country toward socialism.
The executive order calls for “community wealth building,” defined as an economic development strategy ensuring “institutions and local economies have ownership models with greater community participation and control.” In short, socialism.
Under our current free market system, if you open a business, you own it. You control it. And you get to keep the profits. You are also responsible for the losses. Under the Biden plan, it appears that businesses would be communally controlled and profits would be communally distributed, or perhaps, as in market socialism, the business would nominally be privately owned, but actually controlled by the community or the government.
Free markets already treat people fairly, without government intervention. Profit-hungry corporations are smart. They never need to be forced to find new ways to make a profit. If government intervention is needed to force companies to do something, the thing that is mandated is most likely seen as unprofitable. Companies are interested in hiring the best people to help them make money. And there is no profit incentive for companies to reject qualified applicants solely because of their race or gender.