Would These Laws Stimulate the Economy?

By February 9, 2008Human Resources, Labor Unions

Missed this excellent Wall Street Journal column by Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, calling attention to three pieces of legislation that would further regulate the workplace.

Now that the excitement of Super Tuesday has passed, we should remember the kinds of policies and principles at stake. Exhibit A: three pieces of legislation pending in Congress that would dramatically increase the liability of private companies for alleged acts of employment discrimination.

The first would resurrect the discredited idea of “comparable worth.” The second would add various sexual orientations to the classifications protected from employment discrimination. The third is a plaintiffs’ bar wish list, aimed mostly at overturning cases it lost in the Supreme Court.

Too many politicians, backed by organized labor, are assiduously trying to bring the European labor model here to the United States, where it becomes almost impossible to fire lousy employees. As the French have experienced, this extreme level of workplace regulation discourages employers from hiring new workers, inevitably increasing the number of long-term unemployed, who then demand more and more government, tax-supported services.

Last month, the French labor unions and employer federations signed an agreement that moves away from this failed model. Why are so many American politicians pursuing it?

(Hat tip: Matthew J. Franck.)

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