Why are lawyers so expensive?

Vladimir Vinokurov is a solicitor and a deputy Victorian State director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. The views expressed here are his own.

Vladimir Vinokurov is a solicitor and a deputy Victorian State director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. The views expressed here are his own.

Everyone complains about the cost of lawyers, but few look at the cause: occupational licensing laws. Occupational licensing requires anyone who intends to become lawyer to comply with a range of requirements to practice law. These including studying a law degree that is too long, formally applying for “admission” into the profession in an unnecessary ceremony, as well as meeting cumbersome training and supervision requirements that are sometimes unnecessary. These requirements cost law students years of time and tens of thousands of dollars to comply with. The more expensive it is to become a lawyer, the fewer lawyers there will be and the more they can charge. There can be no doubt that this partly explains why lawyers are expensive.

The sheer expense of hiring a lawyer undermines the individual right to obtain legal representation. It means that hiring a competent, effective lawyer can be unaffordable for poorer members of the public. Even wealthier people may find their resources drained by legal fees. The expense of becoming a lawyer also undermines the right to pursue a career of one’s choice, especially poorer students who lack the financial support to study full-time for years and comply with red tape. Lastly, these laws reduce the quality of legal services. The fact that competent would-be lawyers are being excluded from the profession means that existing lawyers have less incentive to operate competently because they have less competition.

The problem starts with the law degree, which must include 11 “core compulsory subjects” but takes three years of full-time study to complete as a result. The degree costs about $10,000 per annum with government subsidies and more without them. Many solicitors may never encounter some of those subjects in practice. Few lawyers practice in constitutional or administrative law. Some solicitors exclusively practice in criminal law or commercial law. Only some do both. It is simply not necessary to study them all in order to practice law. Students should have the choice of studying criminal law and procedure, commercial law subjects or both. Splitting up the degree will reduce costs and create new pathways to legal practice.

But the red tape doesn’t stop there. Graduates must undertake “practical legal training” before they can practice law. They must pay several thousands of dollars to learn what they otherwise should be learning as junior lawyers. If they are not, they can take the course. The problem is that everyone is forced to take it whether or not they have learnt the basics of legal practice. Even experienced overseas barristers have been forced to undertake this training. Forcing this requirement on everyone is unnecessary and wasteful.

Formal admission ceremonies further increase costs. As of 2015, Victorian admission ceremonies alone cost $926. This is a substantial hit to the savings of many graduates. The ceremonies take place monthly, but applicants must apply months in advance to become admitted—further delaying their careers. In the meantime they are simply expected to make ends in meet.

The restrictions pile on after admission. As of 2011, would-be barristers must pass a bar exam and undertake a 2 month readers course, costing thousands of dollars in total, to practice. The exam is unnecessary: barristers typically spend hours to prepare for specific cases, and thinking up answers on the spot will not get you far in the courtroom. Moreover, the exam covers material that graduates may have just covered at university. It’s no wonder practising barristers, even junior barristers, weren’t required to sit the exam: it has nothing to do with upholding standards.

Similarly, solicitors are required to practice for two years under the supervision of another lawyer before they can do so independently—unless they are overseas, or happened to open a practice before that rule was imposed. The inconsistencies in these requirements expose both their arbitrariness and their actual purpose: keeping people out of the profession.

Running a law firm is also unnecessarily cumbersome. By law, all practitioners must obtain “practising certificates” and insurance coverage from a single government-appointed insurer. A competitive insurance field would reduce costs. On top of that, barristers must buy robes and wigs. Costumes can cost thousands. Renting chambers (if practitioners choose to do so) and paying for practising certificates and insurance every year, taken together, costs thousands more.

While there is a great deal of concern about the supposed oversupply of law graduates, the simple fact of the matter is that they are legally forbidden from working without complying with these requirements. The expense of doing so means they cannot compete with established practitioners, which brings prices up.

It is also hard to argue that these regulations protect the public, given that so many current practitioners were exempt from them when they entered into the profession.

By contrast, deregulation will help society at large—especially the poor. Legal fees are just one factor at the margin that can lead to financial insecurity. Reducing costs will help those who are financially at risk.

Nor are regulations the only way to protect the public. Lawyers’ societies could still accept, reject or expel members on the basis of reputation, skill, honesty or competence just as the regulators do now. Ratings systems and online review websites  can also serve an important role in keeping the profession honest. These measures are informative and cost effective. Lastly, in serious cases incompetent lawyers can still be sued by clients for breach of contract, just as they are today.

Those concerned about upholding the standards of the profession forget that some legal work is already competently performed by non-lawyers with knowledge of the law. Tax agents and accountants, police prosecutors, patent attorneys, and industrial advocates all provide legal representation in their chosen fields right now. Indeed there are prosperous, stable nations with reliable justice systems like Sweden and Finland in which anyone can practise law without a licence. There is no reason why Australia cannot adopt a similar system for lawyers or other trades and professions, for that matter.

The case for deregulation is clear: it empowers the poor, the public as a whole and law students. Occupational licensing laws must be repealed. The law must recognise that for many lawyers, the years of study and tens of thousands of dollars spent obtaining a licence to practice is unnecessary.

Paris: Not Always A Good Idea

If you believe climate change is a scam, then you should probably support the upcoming climate summit in Paris. Based on the success of the past, there is an almost 100% guarantee that carbon emissions will not be reduced. Its real outcome is paying lip service to climate change and fooling everyone into believing that beaurocrats working in teams will help the environment. Paris will be only be a success if it is funded by climate sceptics who know that lavishly extolling hypothetical changes to a coal based economy will surely keep environmentalists distracted from the very real emissions they have no plans of reducing.

Consider firstly, the determination of the UN conference organizers to uphold their environmental principles in this $280 million dollar conference. Nothing deters them, not even the carbon footprint of flying representatives from 196 countries thousands of miles worldwide. This can only end well. Maybe as well as the recent study which found that climate change reduces fertility rates and the only solution is “air conditioning.”

One can only hope that a UN coordinated “Global Whining Conference” in Paris will deteriorate to the same abyss of incompetence as Copenhagen and Kyoto. If the outcome is as arbitrary and logistically impossible as every other time this has taken place, then individual nations will be saved from amputating their economic growth for no reason at all.

Some say global warming is the “greatest moral challenge of our time” and others say it is the “greatest hoax in history.” Yet both sides of the political spectrum have reason to believe this conference will be another waste of time, money and energy. John Howard refused to sign the Kyoto agreement and hundreds of green activists protested the summit at Copenhagen. Nothing could unite the former and the latter but a mutual disdain for the UN climate change strategy: failing to deliver the outcome it proposed. Copenhagen was disparaged by sub-zero temperatures and a lack of consensus while Kyoto’s three greatest “sinners,” India, China and the US never even had reduction targets to begin with.

If climate change will truly lead to the global catastrophe that many scientists, journalists and activists predict and the goal remains to transition into more efficient and less harmful forms of energy, then there is no time to repeat the failures of the past. It is time to take a hint once proposed by Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

What is most likely to happen is a diplomatic kerfuffle, where global leaders try to prove that they are making history. As they awkwardly pose for photos, affirm each other’s environmental concern and hope to God that the Parisian weather warms up at the same speed as their projections, there is a nagging voice at the back of everyone’s minds. The perks of a taxpayer funded trip to the food and fashion capital will be offset by the unspoken awareness that no substantial changes will result from these meetings and they only reason they are there is because everyone else is. The risks of seeming uncool are too high, but this is predicated on the other daunting task of convincing constituencies the ill-conceived notion that beaurocrats can change the world for the better.

Gladstone, Cleveland, Reid: Liberalism at a crossroads in 1892

zgpicA detailed comparison of George Reid, Grover Cleveland & William Gladstone examining the fate of classical liberalism in the anglosphere by Zachary Gorman:

To those with even the scantest knowledge of politics it is well known that the word ‘liberal’ means very different things in Australia and America. Here ‘liberal’ is the title of the leading centre-right party and was earlier the name assumed by both Reid and Deakin while preaching their versions of anti-socialism. Across the Pacific the word ‘liberal’ almost means socialist and it is generally used to describe the left-wing of the already centre-left Democratic Party. Some Australians think that their foreign cousins have got the word liberalism more correct, hence the description ‘small-l’ for those on the left of the party. Meanwhile many American’s have rejected the Democrats’ big government definition of liberalism, leading to the rise of a libertarian movement which opposes the expansion of Government when instigated by either major party. More recently the already confused state of liberalism in the Anglosphere has been further complicated by the brief re-emergence of the U.K. Liberal Democrats as a centre-party which is not entirely comfortable with the left or the right.  This state of confusion has not always existed. Liberalism used to be virtually synonymous in each of the countries, a situation which reached its zenith in 1892, a year of liberal triumphs and tragedies that laid the seeds of the present liberal dichotomy.

The common liberalism of 1892 was of course classical liberalism, but it is important to remember that that is a retrospective label. For the men and women who lived and breathed it there was nothing ‘classical’ about their beliefs beyond the fact that many of them had read the classics and could quote Roman and Greek examples in defence of Libertas. Liberalism was a practical ideology, based on deep philosophical underpinnings but never set in dogmatic stone. Its core beliefs were individualism and freedom; hence its followers wanted limited government, particularly economy in expenditure and low taxation. Most held a Whiggish hope in the steady progress of mankind and particularly in individual enterprise as the vehicle of that progress. Globally, most liberals supported Free Trade as something that was not only economically beneficial and amenable to freedom but also good for the poor who could buy what they needed at the cheapest price unencumbered by government. There were local beliefs beyond these central tenets, and even differences over how the core tenets should be prioritised and interpreted, but the commonality of cause was more marked than any disagreement. Wherever they were based liberalism’s adherents may have read Adam Smith, Richard Cobden and even Thomas Jefferson, but beyond a common culture it was to some extent a historical coincidence that people fondly recalling the Glorious Revolution or the American Revolution would have so many beliefs in common. Continue reading

Help YALE Students Go Back To Their “Safe Space”

University is a place where ideas are explored and challenged, where concepts are subject to rigorous debate and horizons are expanded. Well, except if you go to Yale. One of the United States’ most prestigious and acclaimed universities is being held hostage because some students have confused university with kindergarten.

The source of the controversy is an email sent out regarding Halloween costumes. The email stated that students should be mindful of cultural appropriation when selecting their attire for Halloween related tomfoolery. The email was responded to by Erika Christakis, Associate Master of Silliman College who was supported by Nicholas Christakis, Master of Silliman College. They had the nerve to consider that while the intention of the email regarding Halloween costumes was good, as university students are adults they are able to make decisions about how they dress themselves. They also expressed that it is better to have an open dialogue about these things and if one finds a costume offensive then they should ignore it or tell the person wearing the costume that they are offended by it.

You see what the Christakis’s did not consider was that some students at Yale do not like it when their ideas are challenged. The students have protested, called for resignations, vilified the couple and directly abused them. It seems a “safe space” only exists for students who have been upset by someone disagreeing with them. The term “safe space” doesn’t apply to members of staff being surrounded and verbally abused.

We really need to help these students. They’re paying a fortune to attend an elite academic institution for adults when they really only need to pay for a kindergarten. I’m outraged for them as consumers, more than anything.  We have a solution! I’m gathering up a list of names and we will take their place at Yale so that they can go home to their “safe space”.

I mean they probably could have done some research on what they were getting themselves into if they read Yale’s Mission Statement:

“Yale aims to carry out each part of its mission at the highest level of excellence, on par with the best institutions in the world. Yale seeks to attract a diverse group of exceptionally talented men and women from across the nation and around the world and to educate them for leadership in scholarship, the professions, and society.”

I’m sorry Yalies but no one reaches the highest levels of excellence or benefits from diversity when living in their “safe space”. If you want to be a leader, excel in scholarship, a profession or just be a functioning adult, you will be challenged. You will be confronted with people saying things you don’t like and you will be offended. I’m pretty offended right now that you’re at Yale at all, really. I respectfully suggest that if you’re not ready for university, we will gladly relieve you of the burden that is your oppressive Yale education.

It is okay to be upset and offended by someone raising a different point of view. The truth is that you might not be ready for university. We get it privileged Yale students, really. You’re oppressed. You’re triggered. You cannot withstand the pressure of being confronted with another opinion so you throw a tantrum. I get it – I once told my two year old niece she couldn’t have ice cream before dinner and boy was she upset. Self-awareness and respect is something that you learn as you mature. Unfortunately, you’re just not mature enough to go to university. If you are looking for a “safe space” or a “home” whereby you are told you are special, wonderful and unchallenged, you should probably go back to your mother’s house. By the sounds of it, you weren’t challenged there either. Your parents can give you the unconditional love and support you need to develop into a thinking and functioning adult. It’s better late than never.

There are millions of people across the world who would gladly take your place at Yale. Anyone who would like to help these students by taking their place at Yale should sign this petition: Dear Yale, if your students cannot handle rigorous debate and ideas, enrol us instead!

Click HERE to sign!

Danielle Davidson is a Queensland-based budding lawyer and proud cat owner, Dani stands up for academic integrity and overcoming the privileged silencers of intellectual debate on university campuses

We Need A Risk Taking Culture, Not A Risk Taking Government

A recent article by Tony Featherstone discusses why we need to plan for failure.

This is in response to the “entrepreneurship hype” following the “federal government’s renewed interest in innovation.”

He makes the case that “Any innovation statement that does not recognise the important role that failure plays in driving risk-taking and innovation … would be a failure in itself.”

His proposal therefore, is “government funded programs to raise awareness of entrepreneurship and help the small minority with a natural disposition for it.”

This statement raises concerns, not only from the potential costs but the questionable ethics used to determine those with a “natural disposition for entrepreneurship.” How will the government decide who has natural ability and who is supposedly incapable to start their own company?

Will this follow the same segregationist education policy of Western European countries? Take Germany for example, where children from the age of 10 are stratified into different school levels that determine whether or not they can attend university later on. (Free university always has a price)

Every entrepreneur knows that persistence is the key to success, not “natural disposition.” If we teach kids from an early age that some are “more suited” to being entrepreneurs, how are we raising a risk taking culture?

Instead of increasing federal funding for failed entrepreneurs to cope with ‘anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses,’ how about we start by refusing to give the state the power to label those who can and can’t eventually succeed? Far from encouraging a risk-taking culture, this sort of government initiative would simply solidify the erroneous logic of an education system that believes high grades are tantamount to success in the business world.

In addition, Featherstone calls for an adoption of similar policies to American bankruptcy provisions that make failure “less black and white” and would provide greater scope to “trade out of financial difficulty.”

This is a good idea when applied on a personal and local level. There is a case to be made that more philanthropists and non-for-profit organizations should focus their efforts on helping entrepreneurs get back on their feet after failure.

However, there are serious issues if this is applied on government level. The impersonal nature of a federal grant lowers the need for ongoing accountability. Not only would this lead to a serious potential for rent seeking, it would also incentivise failure over success. If an entrepreneur can generate an income by proving he can’t provide a quality service or product, then where is his motivation to actually provide it?

The very last thing we need is a society of welfare-entrepreneurs.

An entrepreneurial culture needs more than a change in government rhetoric, it certainly needs more than a change in government policy. It needs a change in thinking; the kind of daring persistence that sees failure as a minor set-back to success. The kind of thinking that establishes entrepreneurs in the first place.

If Featherstone was truly and utterly concerned about the need to support entrepreneurs in their early years, a strong recommendation would be for him take on a share of responsibility to make that happen. Becoming a philanthropist, or supporting an organisation that supports entrepreneurs is a good place to start.

After all, if the outcome he says is true, and funding failed entrepreneurs is a good idea, then surely it is worth the risk.

Privatise the Mail Market

Customers continue to have problems with the courier business, even though it’s a $4 billion dollar industry.

How is this possible? Because the majority of that revenue goes to Australia Post, which eats up $3.2 billion every year.

The first rule of customer satisfaction is an open market place – where competition drives innovation to deliver better quality products and services. There are over 15,000 operating businesses in the country and yet none have had the “ability to compete with logistics behemoth Australia Post in consumer-to-consumer markets.” As the recent IBIS World Report shows potential deregulation of reserved mail markets could benefit couriers over the next five years”.

Fortunately, some newcomers are changing the game and “slowly eating away at [Australia Post’s] market share.” James Chin Moody, founder of Sendle decided he wanted to “bring the postal service back to the 21st century” with “simple pricing and customized options for pick-up, payment and delivery.”

Privatisation of the mail market has obvious benefits – not only for customers but for businesses too. Moody notes the current inefficiency of the government run service saying “What sole trader or small business has got the time of the day to spend at least half an hour in the post office lining up to send their parcel?”

Interestingly, of the current revenue made by the government run service, it is the “non-regulated parcels and retail services that continue to be the key driver of revenue and profit for Australia Post, offsetting the substantial and accelerating losses in the traditional mail business.”

How much more revenue therefore, could the industry make if it were privatised altogether?

The Illusion of Gender Politics

By a strange coincidence, the left have managed to pile a string of events that expose the facade of identity politics altogether.

Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks about Bernie Sander’s alleged sexism is a case in point. Sander’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, who joked “Look, she’d make a great vice president” was enough to get the feminist ball rolling down a landslide. Now offended to the point of misogyny,  Clinton has very shrewdly been able to turn the situation to her advantage in the polls.

This comes on top of allegations that have been made about the working conditions of her office. Official Senate expenditure reports reveal that between 2002 and 2008, her office refused to pay female staffers more than 72 cents for every dollar made to male counterparts. The rank hypocrisy is astounding – coming from the Senator who simultaneously pushed for equal pay legislation.

Whilst the Democratic debate has become a “slugfest about gender,” what is genuinely disheartening is the treatment of Carly Fiorina based solely on her appearance. Apparently the most important part of her recent speech was not ensuring government’s remain accountable with our money, nor was it was about removing regulation for small businesses. Instead, it was about her face that “looked like a Halloween mask.” 

So who was the immature commentator resorting to childish playground tactics? Not Donald Trump, not the patriarchy but a staunchly progressive and well known feminist co-host of the The View, Joy Behar.

The difference between a candidate like Hillary Clinton and another like Carly Fiorina is evident for all to see. While Clinton calls out sexism as a way to beat her opponent, Fiorina uses class and wit to point out the obvious. She came back to Trump’s remarks saying “Ladies, look at this face. This is the face of a 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle.”

Funnily enough, those who scream the loudest about the injustice of judging woman by appearance are very often the first to use that strategy themselves.

Fiorina is well aware that attacks on her looks are superficial; failing to address her substantial concerns of government overreach in economic policy.

She is living out what Margaret Thatcher once said “I always love I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

Colleague Dismantles National Event At Office Melbourne Cup Party

The survival of the ‘race that stops the nation’ is under threat after a staff member on the Gold Coast expressed criticism of the event over chips and dip at the office party.

Disquiet echoed across the nation as Samantha from procurement challenged the event, raising concerns regarding animal welfare, gambling and economic productivity.

“I don’t see why we are all celebrating the exploitation of these horses for money – we could be doing work right now,” she said.

“No offence or anything but I just feel we are sending mixed messages to our children by promoting gambling.”

It was clear from the days preceding the momentous race that the Melbourne Cup was on shaky ground as Samantha did not buy tickets in the office sweep.

“I’ll buy some chips and do the sweet chilli sauce and cream cheese thing for the party but I’m not wearing some ridiculous wire and feather arrangement on my head,” Samantha said.

When questioned, a colleague (unnamed) said he respected Samantha’s beliefs but it was unlikely to sway him away from the event.

“It’s an afternoon where I don’t have to work and I didn’t see Sam complaining when she won the raffle at last year’s Christmas Party at the Australian Outback Spectacular,” he said.

It is unclear whether the Melbourne Cup will return in 2016 in light of this most recent campaign.

Danielle Davidson

Danielle is a budding lawyer, libertarian and fleeting contributor to Menzies House who generally only writes when she has had too much Red Bull.

Hillary Clinton Peddles Fiction and Fantasy on Gender Pay Gap

During her second tilt at running for President, Hillary Clinton has been no stranger to using emotionally stirring rhetoric in place of facts and reason.

This penchant for sophistry was on fine display during a recent town hall meeting when a girl of no more than six years asked Mrs Clinton ‘when you’re President, do you think you will be paid as much as if you were a male.’

The slightly exaggerated, wide-eyed guffaw that followed hinted at Clinton’s prior knowledge of this perfectly executed Dorothy dixer. As did her words that followed:
“this is one of the jobs where they have to pay you the same. But there are so many examples where that doesn’t happen. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure every woman in every job gets paid the same as the men who are doing that job.”

Judging by the rapturous applause that ensued, we can assume that legions of Clintonites left the meeting with the peace of mind that electing America’s first female President was the only thing standing in the way of women finally achieving wage parity with men.

The video was promptly posted to Clinton’s facebook page, eliciting the gushing praise of a further few thousand true believers.

Paying lip service to any number of notional injustices in society may make great politics – especially for anyone seeking the Democratic nomination for President in 2016. Unfortunately, such political dividends have little to do with the dull facts of real life.

Wage ‘equality’ was first made law when the United States passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963. For more than 50 years now, discrimination on the basis of gender has been illegal. Yet women working full time in America still earn an average of 23% less than their male counterparts. For this there are two possible explanations. Either these laws aren’t being enforced and men are channelling their innate prejudice towards women by paying them nearly a fifth less than males. Or, the differences in average earnings between men and women have more to do with the typical career and lifestyle choices of each gender.

The former has obvious appeal for third wave feminists in first world countries who think of themselves as perpetually downtrodden by the many unseen, yet ever present ways that society favours men over women. Belief in these inbuilt prejudices explains why people like Clinton are so quick to attribute any difference between the sexes to the wrongdoing of men.

The problem with this mindset however is its tendency to put the cart before the horse. All too often, a cool-headed analysis of the facts gives way to preaching based on little more than bias and preconception.

As a starting point, when earnings are measured according to hours worked rather than overall pay, the gap narrows to 16%. For millennials, – workers between the ages of 25 and 34 – the gap narrows again to just 7%.

And this is just while we’re still talking about the workforce as a whole. Once the wage gap is adjusted for occupation, the number of hours worked and time spent on leave, the wage gap starts to look like a rounding error. You don’t have to take my word for it – economists far smarter than I have crunched the numbers. Just look here, here and here.

In short, the fallacy that bedevils people like Hillary Clinton is their belief that a difference in outcomes between men and women means discrimination by the former against the latter. The trouble is that by ascribing ill-intent to millions of unnamed men, the wage gap theory makes itself wilfully blind to the fact that it is occupation and relevant experience that determine the value of someone’s labour, not feelings.

The real problem with the discrimination theory is that when it’s taken to its logical conclusion, it actually undermines itself. What does the pay gap grievance lobby make of the fact that women of Jewish and Japanese descent earn more than the average Caucasian male in America? Should we take this as evidence that the ‘patriarchy’ tempers its chauvinism along ethnic lines?

No doubt that women who have experienced sexism or prejudice in the workplace may feel invalidated by the notion that the wage gap is really a measure of social trends that in turn represent choices made by millions of individuals. But the point here isn’t to deny that sexism isn’t a problem in some workplaces. It is to underline that without more, discrimination is a facile explanation for the wage gap.

The high farce in Clinton fanning on the grievances of women who believe their pay cheque is a symbol of gender-based structural oppression is that she is a prime exemplar of why success has more to do with gravitas than it does chromosomes. She illustrates that when a woman devotes the full energies of her working life to a career, the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ is actually made of sugar.

As a former Secretary of State, Senator, First Lady and once recognised as one of America’s best attorneys, Clinton has excelled in every avenue of life she has deigned step foot in.

Yet despite having perhaps the most powerful last name in Washington, Clinton is more than happy to smugly trot her way through the primary race wearing her self-styled female victimhood on her sleeve. This was on fine display during the first Democratic debate when in response to being asked why Democrats should embrace an ‘insider’ like herself, Clinton said “I can’t think of anything more of an outsider than electing the first woman President.”

The glib irony of this kind of mealy-mouthed wordplay would have been felt nowhere more keenly than by the other candidates on stage, whose combined fundraising efforts have amounted to less than a quarter of the Clinton campaign behemoth. Indeed, if there is one type of society-wide discrimination that Clinton can speak to honestly, it is the privilege of class, influence and wealth.

In fairness to Clinton, running gender as a key plank of Presidential platform is nothing radical in an age where the politics of identity holds infinitely more sway than such banalities as facts and reason. As she put it during the Democratic debate, her womanhood is enough to assure voters that she won’t just be a third term of the Obama Presidency. Nevermind how she’d break path with Obama’s disastrous foreign policy and ever-growing mountain of government debt. Let’s be honest, approaching topics like the gender pay gap dispassionately rather than ideologically is a lot more intellectually taxing and politically risky than resorting to platitudes during the high-drama of an election campaign.

To be sure, the cost of giving credence to political visions over truth on issues like the gender pay gap may be nothing more than an ill informed populace and meddlesome affirmative action laws. But as an omen of things to come, it is unmistakably grim. Indeed, it is difficult to think of position where disdain for the difference between fact and fiction has the potential to inflict more damage and misery than the Presidency of the United States.