Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Senate's Equal Pay Act: Legislating Wage Descrimination Despite Women Choosing To Accept Less Pay

One of the legislative items that the current democratically controlled Senate would like to pass before the election season ends is S.3772 or otherwise known as the "equal pay bill" or "paycheck fairness bill." While the Senate seeks to pass the bill with the good intention of ensuring that people receive the same wages regardless of gender, the evidence justifying the passage of this legislation is very slim. 
There is growing evidence that the wage gap between men and women occurs for reasons other than intentional wage discrimination on the basis of gender. Perhaps the most solid evidence for this is the United States government itself. The U.S. Labor Department contracted with CONSAD Research Corporation to review of more than 50 existing studies as well as a new economic and statistical analysis of the pay gap. The results of the review was laid out in the report titled , "An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women." In the summary of that report, CONSAD made this observation about the causes of the pay gap: 
"Economic research has identified numerous factors that contribute to the observed difference between wages paid to women and wages paid to men, commonly called the gender wage gap. Many relate to differences in the choices and behavior of women and men in balancing their work, personal, and family lives. These factors include, most notably, the occupations and industries in which they work, and their human capital development, work experience, career interruptions, and motherhood. Other factors are sources of wage adjustments that compensate specific groups of workers for benefits or duties that disproportionately impact them. These factors include health insurance, other fringe benefits, and overtime work."
In the full length report, CONSAD explains that they were able to reduce the pay gap from approximately 20% to about 5% when they controlled the various factors that may contribute to the wage gap. CONSAD explains, in the summary of their findings, that even with taking in various factors for the pay gap, there is no detectable and tangible proof of wage discrimination:
"report demonstrates that it is not possible now, and doubtless will never be possible, to determine reliably whether any portion of the observed gender wage gap is not attributable to factors that compensate women and men differently on socially acceptable bases, and hence can confidently be attributed to overt discrimination against women."
In other words, they cannot state with confidence or certainty that there is any proof of any actual or intentional wage discrimination on the basis of gender. The Labor Department agreed with CONSAD's conclusion that the gender pay gap is the result of wide range of factors rather than any overt sex discrimination. As a result, the Labor Department made this statement with regards to any legislative attempt to correct wage discrimination that may not exist: 
The “raw wage gap should not be used as the basis for [legislative] correction. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”
American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation published a report in 1997 came to the same conclusion:
"After accounting for all factors known to affect wages, about one-quarter of the gap remains unexplained and may be attributed to discrimination."
Steve Chapman, writing for explains that the AAUW report is essentially admitting that "that three-quarters of the gap clearly has innocent causes—and that we actually don't know whether discrimination accounts for the rest."
It appears that the common thread behind the wage gap can be attributed to the choices women make in how they will get compensation for their services. In many cases, it is women themselves who create their own pay gap, even in employments fields where women make up the majority of the industry. For example, women dominate the veterinarian business and yet there is evidence that females earn less than their male counterparts. One study reveals that the pay gap for female vets is the result of intentional trade off that they choose to make. Women choose to take less pay in exchange for solidifying their relationship with their clients. 
"Analyzing the pricing patterns of 536 veterinarians, the study found female vets charged needier clients less than more affluent clients, while male vets set their prices regardless of a client's situation.
The female veterinarians -- about one-third of the total group -- adjusted their prices because they cared more about their relationships with their customers than did the men, the study said.
The vets were asked to respond to a hypothetical scenario involving a 12-year-old dog with advanced kidney failure. The vets could offer treatment options to the hypothetical client, described either as a "young professional" or an "elderly widow." The female vets tended to charge the widow less.
In larger veterinary practices, however, female veterinarians charged higher prices, as they took into consideration the needs of their co-workers as well, the study said.
"Women ... take into consideration their customers, and they take into consideration their associates," Gilly said.
"For women, their relationships with customers matter, their relationships with people they work with matter, and it doesn't seem to matter for men," she said. "Men just price the same, regardless."
The study seems to mirror the results of another study in which they found same results of pricing patterns among female mortgage lenders. They found that women made $575 less per loan than their male counterparts. 
Micaela Z. Shaughnessy, a female vet who blogs about women in the veterinarians industry has her own theory for why women charge less than men for the same services. She thinks that a woman's sense of compassion might be her own worst financial enemy.
Studies clearly show that men and women make different business choices when dealing with clients. In these studies, no one is forcing the women to take less pay. They're making that choice themselves. They make a trade off of less pay to solidify client relationship whereas men don't. Men charge the same price regardless of the client's condition.
Regardless of why women who are in the position to state a price for their services will often charge less than men, the conclusion is clear: women, knowingly or unknowingly, choose to accept less pay. However, a legitimate criticism of these kinds of studies is that one cannot take the results of a study that used a small pool of people and that they cannot make apply these studies that are based on women who own their own service-related businesses and say that it applies to positions where the salary is determined by another person or persons. 
However, that criticism lacks merit because in fields where a woman's pay is determined by someone else, women often to fail to negotiate for an increase in pay whereas men have no difficulty in asking for more money. Pink, a women’s business magazine, did a study on women and negotiating for salary in the work place and this is what they discovered: 
"Nearly half of 2,400 women surveyed did not ask for a raise, additional benefit or promotion in the past 12 months. And alas, they’re missing out, because 72 percent of those who asked got what they wanted, according to the survey."
The article states that the reason for the pay disparity isn't due to intentional sex discrimination but that women's failure to negotiate for a salary increase may partly be due to a mix of gender and social upbringing speaking, women are more likely to be passive then men and society teaches women to wait whereas boys are taught to be aggressive and get what they want. However, through training and education, women can learn to ignore arbitrary cultural rules and improve their negotiation skills. 
Another example of a trade off that women make is that women will accept less pay in exchange for stability. MoneyWeek's Editor-in-chief Merryn Somerset Webb 1997 article gives us the explanation:
"We’re trading pay for stability and, we hope, understanding. Someone with children who isn’t entirely sure she can keep coping with full time work; who knows for sure she can’t cope with the upheaval of changing jobs (something you often come to after laying down pay ultimatums); who would quite like to have another baby; and who feels a bit guilty about wondering how her toddler is doing at play group during boring meetings both wants and needs to keep her employer sweet. 
Ask for more money? No way. Move jobs to bump up her salary and give up years of accumulated maternity benefits (stay at a good company for five years plus and you can get 6 months of full pay)? No way."
The interesting thing about her explanation is that she thinks women make this trade off with the hope that it will pay off in the future when a nation faces a economic downturn in that employers will prefer to layoff men and keep women on the job precisely because women are cheaper: 
"I think a lot of women also rather hope that taking a little less out of the pot protects them: that being cheap means they’ll be last out of the door when tough times come – surely, we think to ourselves, they’ll fire all those expensive men first. Women working in the City may be about to find out if that was a good bet or not."
And boy have women made the right bet. The trade off ultimately worked.
For the first time in the American history, more men are out of work than women. They even gave this historical phenomenon a name: mancession. The New York Times noticed this trend in February of 2009 and became a hot topic during the summer of that year. The Atlantic, in July of 2009, cited a statistic that "eighty percent of job losses in the last two years were among men." In August of 2009, Professor Mark J. Perry, who teaches economics and finance at the School of Management at the Flint campus at the University of Michigan pointed out in his blog that the trend could be traced back to December of 2006. However, some people even questioned whether or not the mancession was real. Despite the minority who question this phenomenon, it is real and it still is an ongoing economic issue. Some people think the mancession is now slowing down and others think the trend is reversing in which they're calling it a "He-covery."
Getting back to the Senate's goal of passing S.3772. 
This law will not benefit women because they're making laws on a form of discrimination that cannot be clearly accounted for in any study. Moreover, Congress is forcing  people to provide or accept equal pay despite the fact that men and women freely make their own decisions about how much or less pay they will negotiate for. This tactic is familiar. Congress recently passed a law forcing people to accept ObamaCare even if millions of people intentionally choose to go without health care. You cannot make choices for yourself. Congress will make your choices for you. We will tell you how much pay you will get. We will tell you you need health care. We will tell you to keep stimulus money even if you want to pay it back.
Moreover, they're attempting to right a wrong that on a host of factors that are beyond legislative control. A government cannot control individual choices, free market forces or social conditions. It can only squash them.
However, there is a more pernicious consequence of this law. Christina Hoff Summers, in her New York Times opinion editorial, Fair Pay Isn’t Always Equal Pay, explains: 
"Some of the bill’s supporters admit that the pay gap is largely explained by women’s choices, but they argue that those choices are skewed by sexist stereotypes and social pressures. Those are interesting and important points, worthy of continued public debate.
The problem is that while the debate proceeds, the bill assumes the answer: it would hold employers liable for the “lingering effects of past discrimination” — “pay disparities” that have been “spread and perpetuated through commerce.” Under the bill, it’s not enough for an employer to guard against intentional discrimination; it also has to police potentially discriminatory assumptions behind market-driven wage disparities that have nothing to do with sexism.
Universities, for example, typically pay professors in their business schools more than they pay those in the school of social work, citing market forces as the justification. But according to the gender theory that informs this bill, sexist attitudes led society to place a higher value on male-centered fields like business than on female-centered fields like social work.
The bill’s language regarding these “lingering effects” is vague, but that’s the problem: it could prove a legal nightmare for even the best-intentioned employers. The theory will be elaborated in feminist expert testimony when cases go to trial, and it’s not hard to imagine a media firestorm developing from it. Faced with multimillion-dollar lawsuits and the attendant publicity, many innocent employers would choose to settle.
The Paycheck Fairness bill would set women against men, empower trial lawyers and activists, perpetuate falsehoods about the status of women in the workplace and create havoc in a precarious job market. It is 1970s-style gender-war feminism for a society that should be celebrating its success in substantially, if not yet completely, overcoming sex-based workplace discrimination." 
I want women and men to be paid equally. I just don't want the government to do it. No government intervention is needed. Government intervention usually makes the problem worse. Christina Hoff Summers, I'm sure, is a traditional feminist who wants equal rights with men. Its clear that even she recognizes that this is a bad bill.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More Polls Showing Mitt Romney Is Ahead

I was about to write about a few new polls but the RightOSphere has a great post about the significance of all these polls that show Mitt Romney ahead over other potential 2012 contenders. Read and enjoy it below: 
Every day America is being informed of the enormous political power Sarah Palin is wielding during this current election cycle and how this means she is the emerging front runner for 2012. Yet despite all this journalistic fervor, the numbers culled from recent polling tell a different story.
During the past two days, two national surveys were released showing Palin as the fourth choice among Republican voters, for the 2012 Presidential Nomination. Both PPP and the McClatchy-Marist polls revealed voters place Mitt Romney in the top position. These results are achieved despite the constant news cycle exposure of Palin as the presumed leader of the Tea Party movement, and in the forefront of controversial issues like the Ground Zero Mosque.
Romney for his part, has spent the summer flying under the national media radar, focusing his time on endorsing candidates for state offices, often making the rounds locally and then dropping contributions into their campaign coffers. He and Palin have endorsed many of the same candidates, yet Palin – the Media lighting rod – has been garnering all the attention and the lion’s share of the credit.
However, this does not seem to have dampened support for Romney among the GOP. This has to be a source of consternation indeed among the Fox Supertars – Palin, Gingrich and Huckabee – considering the amount of expiosure they get from either their own shows or being guests. Throw in the Talk Radio invites each accepts, and the Romney’s durability is an even more impressive.
So among the voters who know who they like, Romney holds a narrow lead. But what do the Nation’s Undecided Voters think? Well we don’t know how they would vote, but we do know who they view favorably and unfavorably. Today, PPP posted an article about their findings in surveying Undecided/Swing voters nationwide. Even among this subset, Romney enjoyed higher support, not only over Palin, but other potential 2012 GOP rivals, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee.
From PPP:

None of those folks inspire nearly as strong of feelings with this fall's swing voters as Sarah Palin though. A whooping 65% of swing voters have an unfavorable opinion of her, to only 17% who see her in a positive light. And it's not as if that’s a function of the remaining undecideds strongly disliking Republicans across the board-only 41% have a negative opinion of Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich and that falls to 33% for Mike Huckabee and just 25% for Mitt Romney.

The group of folks who haven't made up their minds yet is 14% Democrats, 21% Republicans, and 65% independents. They're not really sold on the President but they know they don't like Sarah Palin- making the Republican Party the Palin Party, could help push Democratic candidates across the finish line in a lot of this year's close races.
Romney’s unfavorability ratings would be envious with any group surveyed, but with the swing voters, it is of particular note, as these are often late deciders, who tilt an election on way or another. These numbers show most swing voters currently have a favorable view of Romney, a nice card to have tucked away should he decide to run in 2012. 
Another interesting trend proved false is the assumption Sarah Palin is the Tea Party’s favorite choice for the 2012 nomination. The M&M poll released Tuesday showed again, Mitt Romney was their top choice. While the sampling size of the poll was small, it nonetheless dovetails with an earlier CNN poll in August, providing similar results. CNN found  that "More than half of all Republicans we questioned consider themselves Tea Party supporters or active members of the Tea Party movement," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Romney tops the list among Tea Party Republicans; Gingrich is next on that list and Palin is in third."
The PPP poll of this week also showed Romney the clear favorite among Moderate GOP voters. Palin, Huckabee, Gingrich and Romney split the Conservative wing fairly evenly, with Romney getting the lower end share. However, he was the runaway leader among the Moderate wing of the party.
All this information is not cast in stone and there is still a lot of political baseball to be played before the nation begins thinking about selecting a new chief exec. But the support for Gov. Romney, while not garnering headlines and talk radio chatter, is far from butter soft. With strong support from the middle of the Republican Party and an even slice of the Conservative pie, Mitt Romney, through his hard and understated work, is positioning himself to be a very formidable contender, once the midterm elections are over and the Nation begins focusing on a brand new form of executive leadership.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sarah Palin: Running For RNC Chair Or POTUS?

Sarah Palin's speech at the Iowa Republican Party’s annual Ronald Reagan Dinner has some people wondering what her plans are for 2012. On one hand, it seems like she is working to take Michael Steele's job as the Republican National Committee Chair since she outlined what she would do if she was in charge of the Republican party: 
She would tell Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, a major player in Tea Party movement as she is, "You're awesome. We need you down south."

She'd tell Mitt Romney to go campaigning in the West, George W. Bush to raise money and Rush Limbaugh to "go deep, go anywhere, everywhere, people are listening."
But on the other hand, if her speech was meant to indicate she has higher aspirations to become the next President of the United States, then Iowans have mixed feelings about that. In fact, the response to her speech was less than enthusiastic:
Republican activists who attended the event said Palin stoked party enthusiasm, but they voiced mixed reaction on whether the speech signals Palin will be a candidate for president.

"I'd say she sounded less like a candidate and more like someone trying to fire up the base prior to a very important mid-term election," said Andrew Dorr, a Des Moines Republican who ran Fred Thompson's 2008 Iowa caucus campaign.

Ann Trimble-Ray, Sac County Republican vice chairwoman, said it sounded as if Palin were leaving the door open.
"It sounded an awful lot like a campaign speech for someone who isn't running for office," said Trimble-Ray, a campaign adviser to Iowa Rep. Steve King.
Do you think Sarah Palin would be better for the Republican Party as the next RNC Chairperson or the President of the United States in 2012? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think.

UPDATE (12.7.10): The leader of the TEA Party Nation thinks Sarah Palin ought to run for the RNC chair. Palin rejects the idea. I think its a clear indication Palin intends to run in 2012.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Money Might Buy You Love But Not A Political Office

One of the most common complaints I hear about wealthy political candidates is that they are rich enough to buy their way into office. Some people will make this argument after they have heard that Meg Whitman has broken the record for spending money towards a political campaign:
"Former eBay boss Meg Whitman has shattered the record for the biggest spending candidate in any U.S. election in history
She has splashed out a staggering $119 million of her own money in her  bid to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as California’s next Republican governor. By shelling out another $15 million from her hi-tech fortune this week, she surpassed the $109 million spent by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg on his 2009 reelection campaign."
However, having a big fortune and spending that money on a political campaign doesn't mean a rich person can actually buy a political office. Sometimes people with lots of money will win elections and sometimes they will lose elections. However, spending that much money does have an impact on a wealthy political candidate's wallet. 
Republican Steve Poizner is perhaps the best example that money cannot buy you an office seat. It is reported that he is worth at least $1.2 Billion. He spent "$5.9 million himself to compile a $6.65 million campaign war chest, outspent his opponent more than 3-to-1 and still lost his 2004 race for an open seat in the California State Assembly." (Source.) In 2006, he ran for California Insurance Commissioner and won. by using approximately $17 million of his own personal funds. However, in 2010, he spent $25 million of his own money in a failed effort to win the California Republican Primary and the chance to compete against Jerry Brown to become the next governor of California. Losing two out of three political campaigns is pretty bad. It’s worse to lose and spend a fortune doing it...twice. 
In fact, California is the perfect state to blow the idea that wealth can  help  someone win a campaign and get a cushy political job. For example, from "the early 1960s, 18 wealthy Californians have spent lavishly from their personal fortunes on campaigns for governor or the U.S. Senate. Of those, 17 failed, many spectacularly so." (Source.) And it doesn't matter if it was a wealthy Democrat or Republican. They spent a lot of money to lose.
As if you didn't need any more examples to bust this argument, it is worth remembering that Ross Perot spent anywhere between $57 million to $65.4 million of his own money in the 1992 Presidential election and lost. Mitt Romney spent $45 million of his own money and ultimately suspended his 2008 Presidential campaign.
Money can buy you alot of things. Buying your way into a political office isn't one of them.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mitt Romney Looking Better And Better For 2012

Mitt Romney is looking more and more like the possible Republican challenger to President Barak Obama.  Dr. Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee had this to say about Mitt Romney on Hugh Hewitt's radio show
HH: Who is the most formidable Republican as you look out for the fifteen months from now, Republicans vote in Iowa. Who would you least like to see come out of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida as the Republican nominee to take on President Obama.
HD: Romney.
HH: Why?
HD: Same reason I was most afraid of him the last time. Very articulate, and he’s got plenty of money. He is good looking and all that kind of stuff, and that matters. I suspect strongly that his personal life is squeaky clean, very bright. And the interesting thing, however, though, is of course Obamare and Romneycare are one and the same. So Obama’s health care plan, we’ll get into this tonight, but I actually think Obama’s health care plan was incredibly bipartisan, despite the fact that I don’t think it got one single vote in either chamber, when all was said and done. And the reason is it was a carbon copy of something that Governor Romney passed in Massachusetts.
Joe Scarbourough also thinks Mitt Romney will be the eventual GOP 2012 winner to challenge Obama: 
Here's the transcript from the Morning Show:
"Just really quickly, talking about 2012.
I just have to get this out, because I've heard for the past couple hours that these elections in 2010 are going to actually make the candidate more conservative in 2012.
It's counter-intuitive: the opposite is true.
The opposite is true, because you have elections like Clinton in '92; Obama in 2008. They fire up the base, and what happens is you have a mid-term that corrects by going too far left [to] too far right.
And then, two years after that, you expect establishment Republicans like Nixon in '68. If you look at '66, the Republican Revolution gives us an establishment candidate, Nixon in '68.
You can look at Gingrich in '94, gives us Bob Dole in '96. There is always this back-and-forth.
We're going to dart way right, and you watch Mitt Romney -- mark it down this morning -- is the benefactor of the lunge to the right."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Burning The Koran On 9/11: An Incredibly Stupid Idea

As you probably all know by now, a Florida pastor named Terry Jones had plans to burn copies of the Koran on September 11, 2010.
I don't like it when people defile a Bible, Qur'an, Book of Mormon, Bhagavad Gita or any other religious book. And that is why so many different religions like the LDS Church, Catholic, Evangelical, and Judaism are united in their opposition to Pastor Terry Jones' plan to burn Qu'rans on September 11, 2010. They don't like it either. 
And there is a good reason for why they have joined forces in condemning the idea of burning Korans on 9/11. The consequences will be devastating for those religious freedom flourish around the world, especially in the middle east. The harm will last long into the future. Geoff Tunnicliffe, a prominent voice in the World Evangelical Alliance, explains the long term consequences of Pastor Terry Jones’ act:
“Here’s the reality: That video will never go away,” Tunnicliffe said. “It will be so detrimental to our work with religious liberty around the world. Everywhere I go around the world I will have to address this for years to come.”
The Pastor's actions will have negative consequences for all other religions even if they oppose the Pastor's plan to burn the Korans. Thanks to Terry Jones, the Middle East will be less inclined to allow other faiths to have the ability to operate in that region of the world. However, the Middle East, which is has little tolerance for other faiths, wants Islam to be respected around the world but will not allow other religions to be practiced in their midsts. What the Middle East refuses to recognize is that everyone wants the right to have their faith practiced at home or abroad. At some point, the Middle East will have to embrace the same task of balancing freedom of religion and speech. It will have to learn that a person has a right to be respectful as well as offensive towards other religions.
Don't get me wrong. I totally understand the feelings that Muslims feel when they hear that someone wants to burn the Koran to make a political or religious statement. I know how they feel because seeing a Book of Mormon dragged on the ground does not evoke positive emotions in me. Maybe its part of the reason why other Mormons like Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck are opposed to this Pastor's stupid idea of remembering 9/11. 
There are some who think that what the Pastor is doing is contrary to the founding principles of the Republic. Those people are wrong. Freedom of religion and speech are both protected under the the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Neither Religion and speech are given more weight or protection than the other. One may consider that both of these freedoms have the honor of being listed first in the Constitution. In fact, they're listed together. Personally, I think they're inextricably linked together. You can't have freedom of religion with out speech and you can't have speech without freedom of religion.
Hence, there will always be tension between free speech and freedom of religion. However, that tension is what makes America so great. People have a right to speak their mind about any number of topics, especially religion. They have a right to be amazingly insensitive to a world religion that has approximately 1 billion followers.
Which is why the as much as the act of seeing a Book of Mormon thrown on the ground bothers me, the man has a right to do so. I think what the Pastor is doing is incredibly stupid. And, as stupid as the Pastor’s desire to burn the Korans maybe, it’s his right to do so.

Friday, September 3, 2010

California Going Red in 2010?

A recent poll shows that Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina are ahead in the polls: 
"Incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer remains locked in a tight fight with Republican challenger Carly Fiorina, according to this latest SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KABC-TV Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KGTV-TV San Diego, and KFSN-TV Fresno. 3 identical SurveyUSA tracking polls have shown the contest within the theoretical margin of sampling error, though, in all 3 cases, the Republican has been nominally ahead, confounding many observers and, for now, preserving the possibility of a take-away. Today, it's Fiorina 48%, Boxer 46%. There is movement, or perhaps statistical noise, among Hispanic voters.
In the contest for Governor of California, it's Republican Meg Whitman 47%, Democrat Jerry Brown 40% today. Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll 3 weeks ago, Whitman is up 3, Brown is down 3. But, compared to a SurveyUSA poll 7 weeks ago: no change. Among men, the race has been flat since polling began in July, with Whitman at 50% in each poll, and Brown at 35% to 37%. Among women, more volatility, with Brown 13 points atop Whitman 3 weeks ago, but tied with the former eBay CEO both 7 weeks ago and today."
The idea of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina winning in 2010 raises some interesting questions:  Is California finally turning red a permanent or temporary change for California? Will this change trickle down to the state and local level in which people will elect republicans to Sacramento? What are the implications for the 2012 elections?
I don't know the answers to some of these questions. Time will only tell. However, I think I know what a Meg Whitman victory will mean for the 2012 Presidential election. It will be a game changer for all Republican contenders. 
However, the person who might benefit from a red California with Meg Whitman as the Governor will be Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney and Meg Whitman have known each other for a long time and have been supportive of each other in their business and political careers. She worked for Bain and Company, which Mitt Romney was one of the founders of that company. She worked on Mitt Romney's 2008 Presidential campaign first on the  Finance co-chair of Romney's exploratory committee and later as the was on his National Finance Team. 
In return for Meg's support during Romney's 2008, Mitt has been a strong supporter of her bid to become the next California Governor. If she wins, she will most likely work hard to help Mitt Romney win that state in 2012 if Mitt does decide to run for President. And if he does run against Barak Obama, he could use California's 55 electoral votes to win the White House.
Hopefully, California will stay red for 2012.