Scott Walker knows the best way to support equal pay is to repeal equal pay laws

A bizarre ad from Walker touts his support for equal pay -- after he weakened equal pay laws

Published October 28, 2014 5:30PM (EDT)

  (AP/Jeffrey Phelps)
(AP/Jeffrey Phelps)

A new ad from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker features his lieutenant governor celebrating his apparent support for equal pay for women. In the ad, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch says she finds it "insulting" that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has said that Walker is "trying to make it harder for women to earn equal pay." She goes on to claim that, "Under Scott Walker, workplace discrimination will always be illegal for any reason."

So the thing here is that, in addition to federal laws, gender-based employment discrimination is illegal in Wisconsin under the state's Fair Employment Act. But in 2012, Walker quietly repealed the state's Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which gave the existing equal pay law more teeth. As we've seen in the persistence of the pay gap -- currently at 75 cents in Wisconsin -- despite progress on equal pay laws, legislation banning discrimination often isn't enough to fix the problem. As the Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel reported at the time, the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, among its other provisions, allowed women to "plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court." Put simply, this made it easier for women to earn equal pay.

But in the ad, Kleefisch, presumably speaking for Walker as well, called the measure fuel for lawsuits. (This is a famous thing that Republicans love to say about equal pay laws.)

Confused by Walker expressing his support for equal pay laws by not supporting equal pay laws? Don't be. Everyone knows that the best way to support something is to not support it. This makes perfect sense and there is absolutely no problem with this approach to supporting things. Earlier this week, I supported C-Town by doing my grocery shopping at Key Food. This morning, I supported the eating or oranges by eating a banana. In a little while, I plan to support local businesses by buying things on Amazon. This weekend, I might support my city's public parks by watching a movie at home.

Watch the ad here:

h/t Laura Bassett

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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