Monday, October 10, 2011

How Far Is Too Far?

Progressive groups are proposing a rule that would require employers to consider the long term unemployed when making hiring decisions.  Essentially giving civil rights treatment such as are given to minorities to those who are currently unemployed.  Despite private property owners making the determination for themselves what the qualifications are for the contract they are offering, these groups feel that their values supercede those of the property owner. 

What I would like to focus on is this underlying issue of coercion.  You might ask what coercion, but if this were to become law, the government would coerce, i.e. use force, to require private property owners to use the value judgment of the majority.  If government has this power, what else might they be allowed to do?  Let's walk down this road a moment, shall we?

What would happen if a Majority decided that they wanted all businesses to be closed on Sundays?  This actually has happened and some state courts have stricken these laws down, but let's pretend that a majority of Americans decided they wanted Congress to enact this law.  Fifty-one percent of the people decided that this value judgment of their was more important than the independent value judgments of business owners and consumers nationwide.  (Keep in mind, we're just speculating).

Chick-Fil-A chooses to remain closed on Sundays. That was a decision of their founder and as a corporation they hold to that today, yet it seems like I always want chick-fil-a on Sundays!  So, what would happen if Congress passed a law that REQUIRED stores that sell food to be open 7 days a week.  What's wrong with that?  Hey, more business and I can get chicken mini's on Sunday Morning.  You know, this really makes a lot of sense.  It'll be good for businesses. 

A recent poll found that the majority of Americans find earth tones soothing, so requiring all employees to wear earth-tone uniform shirts and pants would relax people coming into a business.  Since a majority of people feel this way, why not just make it a law?  I know, some companies have spent years building a brand awareness around certain color schemes, and those can stay on the exterior of the store, we're just talking about the interior of the store.

Speaking of the exterior of the store, wouldn't it be nice if they were in earth tones too?

president obama has said that there comes a point when a business has made "enough" money.  Now, I don't know how much that is, but we've got really smart people who can figure that out, and I know people don't like new taxes, so, this is what I propose.  Once a business has made x dollars in a month then they must reduce prices on all other goods so that they are only making that number.  This will benefit consumers who will in turn buy more things, which, since we're capping profits....well, that doesn't benefit anyone, but can hire more people!

Yes, the examples got a little bit more extreme as we go along, but that's the point.  During the debates for passing civil rights era legislation, justification was put forth that the only reason they would think to restrict the rights of association and contract of private property owners was to redress the wrongs of slavery and rampant societal discrimination.  Now, there is serious discussion of adding unemployed people to the same level of protection.  The justification doesn't seem to work this time, and honestly, justifications aren't even being attempted. 

Looking at the history of regulation in this country, the regulatory burden has grown constantly and with increasing tempo.  Better than 900 new regulations have been enacted this year and that's just by cabinet level departments.  Some will say that the answer is simple, that we just show restraint and we insist Congress shows restraint.  Man, good luck.  Neither Congress nor the People, when they find themselves in the majority can resist the allure of power.  Don't agree, read the history of the 16th Amendment.  This is the Constitutional Amendment that allowed Congress to pass the income tax.  When it was debated the tax was to only be levied against the top 5% of income earners and at a Maximum rate of 1%.  They've done a great job resisting the extra authority that that Constitutional Amendment granted them....and who among you would support going back to 1% income tax for the top 5% income earners?  Neither the government nor the People know restraint in the moment.  It was the Founders who elected to restrain the power of the majority from creating rule by mob.  We've chipped away at those restraints until little remains. 

What we need is a rational moment, a clarifying event, to bring us back to the restrictions that were designed to protect us from ourselves.

....well, you knooo-oow, we all want to change the World...

No comments:

Post a Comment