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Want Equal Pay? Lilly Ledbetter In New Obama Ad

The Obama campaign released a new ad featuring Lilly Ledbetter, who found out only on the verge of retirement that she’d been making 40% less than the men at her plant while doing the same job for years. This is a wonderful ad, mostly because Lilly is as fantastic and down-to-earth in it as she is in person.

Lilly is fairly blunt:

I worked at this plant for 20yrs before I learned the truth. I’d been paid 40% less than men doing the same work.

John McCain opposed a law to give women equal pay for equal work. And he dismissed the wage gap saying women just need education and training.

I had the same skills as the men at my plant. My family needed that money. On the economy, it’s John McCain who needs and education….

The worst part for Lilly? When the SCOTUS dismissed her case, in a 5-4 decision, that also meant her pension and her social security benefits — calculated based on her wages — are less than male counterparts for her whole retirement.

Even worse for all of us, the Ledbetter decision has now been cited in hundreds of cases nationwide to justify disparate treatment based on race, gender, age, disability and other reasons to pay someone less or treat them differently because these cases have been jimmied into an analogous argument to what Lilly faced in her claim. The SCOTUS decision effectively undercut decades of precedent on equality in one, fell swoop in favor of companies who want to justify internal discrimination.

GOP leadership, at the behest of the Bush WH and corporate lobbyists, blocked the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in the Senate this year — a vote for which John McCain didn’t even bother to show.

Lilly’s absolutely right: McCain needs to be educated on just what women think of being treated as second class simply because they are women. Just because we have boobs doesn’t mean we have to vote for one, now does it?

PS — Bob Geiger has the Saturday editorial cartoons for your guffaws.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com