LOS ANGELES — Sen. Kamala Harris said she will unveil “the first ever national priority on closing the pay gap and holding corporations accountable for transparency and closing that gap.”
Corporations failing to do so will face penalties, Harris said May 19 at Los Angeles Southwest College at what was billed as the first campaign organizing event in the Los Angeles area for her bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Harris did not provide details on the proposal.
The gender pay gap is the ratio of female-to-male median or average yearly earnings. Liberals customarily attribute it to discrimination. Conservatives have cited such factors as men being more likely to work more hours and marriage and motherhood resulting in lower earnings for women.
“Once we start controlling individually for the many relevant factors that affect earnings, e.g. hours worked, age, marital status and having children, most of the raw earnings differential disappears,” Mark J. Perry, a scholar at Washington-based think tank the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan-Flint wrote on AEI’s economics blog, Carpe Diem.
Harris said she is running for president because “this is a moment in time where anyone who professes to be a leader has got to fight for the importance of restoring truth and justice in our country.”
“I believe this is a moment in time where anyone who professes to be a leader has got to fight for the importance of restoring equal opportunity for all people to succeed,” Harris said.
Harris said she is also running because whenever she would complain about something as a child, her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher, “would put her hand on her hip and look at you and say ‘What are you going to do about it?’”
“So I decided to run for president of the United States,” Harris said.
Harris discussed several of the themes of her campaign — including a tax cut for families making less than $100,000 and increasing teacher pay — in a speech she repeatedly punctuated with the phrase, “Let’s speak truth.”
In her announcement speech Jan. 27 in her hometown of Oakland, Harris promised to “deliver the largest working and middle-class tax cut in a generation,” up to $500 a month which would be financed by “reversing this administration’s giveaways to big corporations and the top 1 percent.”
“That would be all the difference between being able to get through the end of the month with dignity or not,” Harris said at Los Angeles Southwest College.
Harris unveiled a plan in March to increase teacher salaries, highlighted by giving average-paid teachers a $13,500 annual pay raise.
“You can and must judge a society based on how it treats its children,” Harris said. “One of the greatest expressions of love that a society can extend toward its children is to invest in their education.”
Harris put the price tag for the 10-year plan at about $315 billion. It would be paid for by making changes to the estate tax.
Christiana Purves, the Republican National Committee deputy director of regional communications, called the proposal a “big government plan for teachers that will slap new spending mandates on the states.”
Harris also criticized President Donald Trump on a variety of issues, including climate change and immigration.
Los Angeles Southwest College, located in the unincorporated Athens area near Inglewood, was chosen for the site of the event because “we wanted to spotlight the importance of community colleges for expanding pathways to higher education, as well as underscore the importance of making college more affordable and investing in skills training,” Ian Sams, the Harris campaign’s national press secretary, told City News Service.