Days Off With Pay: What Could Be Wrong With That?

“There awwta be a law requiring … businesses to provide family leave with pay.”

That’s the latest proposal to hamper the private economy and individual / private property rights in favor of a political leader’s need for applause and to feel good about himself.

What’s that, you say? You’re not in favor of this new law? Are you against the family? Are you against family leave? What kind of person are you?

“Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth — now that’s a pretty low bar,” President Obama said at the White House Summit on Working Families. “That, we should be able to take care of … If France can figure this out, we can figure this out.”

So France is our role model now? Let’s take a look at some facts about the economy of France.

France’s real GDP contracted 2.6% in 2009, but recovered somewhat in 2010 and 2011, before stagnating in 2012. The unemployment rate increased from 7.4% in 2008 to 10.3% in 2012. Youth unemployment shot up to 24.2% during the third quarter of 2012 in metropolitan France. [Source:]

When you impose social and economic policies on the private sector, you get an impaired market economy. An impaired market economy means lower growth, fewer jobs, less well-paying jobs with fewer benefits, and fewer economic opportunities for nearly everybody.

Instead of saying, “Wow, let’s get these strangleholds off the economy,” politicians and the majority of voters instead conclude, “Let’s simply have more controls and requirements.”

Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to free up the economy? If growth rates, in both France and the United States, were allowed to be all that they could be — as they could, in the absence of any government requirements such as “paid family leave” — then there would be less perceived need for those policies in the first place.

Of course, economic growth is not what Obama, and others like him, are after. If it were, they would have abandoned such policies and ideas long ago.

What they’re after is a guarantee or entitlement that everyone should have … paid family leave, paid health care, paid fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-you-consider-worthwhile-right here. You have a right to these things, according to Obama; the issue, to him, is a moral one, not an economic one at all.

That’s why eventually all of these things pass. They dare their opponents to challenge them. “What, you don’t believe in family leave?” The proper answer to this question? Family leave isn’t a political issue in the first place; nor should it be. This is something for employers and employees to work out in the context of a voluntary, free marketplace.

In our hampered market economy, it’s more of an employer’s market than an employee’s market. In other words, with unemployment rates of 7, 10 or 12 percent (probably much higher given how the government fudges them), it’s obviously not an employee’s market. There are way too many actual and potential employees relative to the number of employers out there. We tax, regulate, sue and redistribute our way into a stagnating or declining economy — and then we wonder why there are fewer jobs and consequently fewer benefits to being an employee.

If it’s truly better conditions for employees you seek, then you ought to favor a repeal of all the income, corporate and regulatory measures now in place in our severely hampered private economy. Because with the repeal of those taxes and controls, you would see growth unlike anything ever seen, and as a result more jobs than ever. Companies and employers in this thriving and growing economy would be desperately competing to find the best people (and keep them once they find them). Benefits and salaries are the best way to find and keep good people. The benefits of a truly laissez-faire, completely unhampered free market economy would make Obama’s proposals seem like nothing.

Unfortunately, we keep on doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. The only way Obama gets away with it is through moral intimidation. You’re not against better benefits for workers, are you?

Actually, I am, at least when it comes to coercing those benefits out of employers against their will. But I also recognize getting the government the hell out of the private economy altogether would be the best situation possible for everyone.

America should not be emulating France. France and America should be making real the idea of a free market economy, where no coercion is permitted and where prosperity becomes the norm, not the exception.


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