Thursday, September 18, 2014


Wage discrimination, based on prejudice, is a real problem.  

I need to sound off about arguments like the following that there is very little wage discrimination against women: “An analysis of more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, commissioned by the Labor Department,  found that the so-called wage gap is mostly, and perhaps entirely, an artifact of the different choices men and women make—different fields of study, different professions, different balances between home and work”  ( All these arguments are concerned only with wage earning that is “market driven,” and they reflect values of a culture saturated with wage discrimination based on pure prejudice about money being the most important cultural value. 

One example: Why is the school superintendent worth more than 3 times as much as the classroom teacher who has at least as much experience and training (quite often she has more)?  Is his work worth more to the students, their families, and the community?  Administration with its power status has been traditionally men’s work, men have had the political power, and men have decided superintendents are worth more money than classroom teachers, traditionally women’s work. Such judgments about the relative value of superintendent and classroom teacher is a cultural prejudice that still dominates “market” values everywhere, prejudices that pervade nearly any service or industry you could mention. From department stores to the makers of toilet paper, the people who get the major work of the organization done are among the lowest paid by huge multiples, and those positions are filled more by women than by men.  That is wage discrimination.

Wage discrimination is not only against women.  It is also against certain races, ethnicities, and labor.  But women make up a disproportionate % of the discrimination in all categories, and it is worse for women who also face these other categories of discrimination.  The argument about women being worth less because they have taken time off from paid employment for family is another example of a market driven cultural prejudice.  Because motherhood is not paid employment, the experience gained is valued as worthless, though it could be worth many hours of gainful employment in terms of what mothers who spend time with their children can learn about human relationships and mediating conflict; that should enhance their value to employers. 

The arguments suggest that the solution to the problem is for women to become more like men in their values, to make the same kinds of choices men make, rather than try to change the culture Choices such as sacrificing ethical values for career advancement (; The sacrifice of good education, health care, happiness, and the common good for the love of money and power is destructive for men as well as women and the common good.  And it results in the kind of wage discrimination we see in the obscene income inequality that is ruining our economy.    

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vote Responsibly

To the Editor, The Star Herald
From Alice Bolstridge
Subject: Political Attack Ads

If you think advertising doesn’t influence you because you don’t pay attention to it, think again.  An ad pops up on my Facebook page with a picture of my state representative and the message, “Saucier Means More Taxes, [from] Your State Rep, BOB SAUCIER, voted to increase taxes and fees on cars, snowmobiles & ATV's.”   I don’t want to pay more taxes; I want my taxes reduced.  If I am a snowmobiler or an ATVer, and if I am not paying attention, and if I don’t know Bob Saucier, all I see flashing before me is that guy who wants to make my outdoor life more expensive than it already is, and I will vote for the other candidate. 

I’m not a snowmobiler, nor an ATVer, and I know and support Bob Saucier as my representative, so I paid attention. Even though I don’t use outdoor sports vehicles, people I love do.  So I want safe, well-groomed, and well maintained trails.  The clubs responsible for maintaining the trails are having trouble finding the resources to do an adequate job and some have closed because of it.  This affects the Aroostook economy; outdoor sports is an important job creator here.  One of the bills Bob voted for would have raised registration fees $5.00 a year.  Designed to help maintain trails, it was supported by both snowmobilers and snowmobile dealers.  The Maine Sportsmen’s Alliance has endorsed Bob.  These are reasons why I support Bob’s votes on this issue.

I researched to see if Bob’s Republican opponent, Larry Fox, might have a better plan for solving these problems. I couldn’t find any information in the media or on his Facebook page about his position on this issue.  I wanted to call and ask him but couldn’t find any contact information. 
About Fox’s views on any of the issues he would likely face in the legislature, I could only find vague generalizations. A professional educator, he says he “will focus on education reforms that match students young and old with good careers.”  

But Bob has the endorsement from the Maine Education Association and a 100% voting record on educational issues. He also has endorsements from various labor organizations concerned with good jobs for Mainers.  I couldn’t find any specific information about what positions Larry Fox has on the important issues I care about.  Bob is easy to contact, and lots of information about his views is readily available. Just google “Maine Representative Robert Saucier,” or go directly to,

You won’t find that kind of good information in political attack ads.  Pure attack ads, either from the right or the left, are socially irresponsible, misleading, and sometimes outright lies.   Sponsors pour millions into advertising to keep us consumers and voters ignorant and to manipulate us.  They do it because it works to their advantage, not to ours.  Pay attention, so you won’t be an ignorant manipulated voter. 


Democratic Candidates at the Acadian Festival Parade, left to right: Mike Carpenter for State Senate; Danny Martin for State House; Emily Cain for US House; Mike Michaud for Maine Governor, Troy Haines for Maine House; Ken Theriault for State Senate; Bob Saucier for Maine House; Janet Mills, current Maine Attorney General; John Martin for Maine House.