Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

11 November 2010

The Right to Association with Others - The Right to Work and Hire

The equal, sovereign rights of individuals to life, liberty, property, the ownership of their own minds and bodies, and to pursue their own happiness are very broad.  Limitations put upon individuals by legitimate governments are few and strictly limited to the prevention of violence and fraud.  Among the most basic of an individual's rights are the right to work for a living.  Another is the right to associate with others for voluntary purposes, which includes such rights as the right to trade goods and services, the right to hire employees, the right to be an employee of another, the right to be a service provider, the right to be a customer, the right to use property to provide goods and services, the right to practice a profession or trade, the right to enter into a business partnership, the right to enter into a domestic partnership, the right to exchange ideas, and the right to enjoy friendships and romantic and/or sexual relationships.  The freedom to work and the freedom to associate voluntarily with others are very broad freedoms, which legitimate governments seek to protect.  On the other hand, illegitimate governments, which are much more common, seek to interfere with these basic freedoms.

Illegitimate government was defined in our Declaration of Independence.  Government which is destructive to the unalienable rights of the individual to, among other rights, the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness is declared illegitimate and tyrannical.  The United States of America today is full of such illegitimate and tyrannical governments.  These governments feel especially free to interfere with our voluntary associations in trade, work, and cooperation in the following ways
  • controls and regulations on the production of goods,
  • mandates and limits on the employer - employee relationships, 
  • the licensing of professionals and tradesmen, 
  • the imposition of slavery upon employers to keep financial records and to keep tax records and file tax forms, 
  • limitations on the exchange of services, 
  • the dictation of who can be hired and who cannot be hired, 
  • the unequal treatment of various domestic partnership combinations, 
  • the denial of access to the market of very large companies, 
  • the excessive burdening of small companies with laws, mandates, regulations, and paperwork,
  • micromanaging safety issues not understood by governments in complex workplaces,
  • micromanaging performance standards not understood by governments in complex professions,
  • exaggerating safety issues to gain control and to reward special interests,
  • exaggerating issues of potential fraud in the interest of control and to award special interests,
  • discriminating against many professions with property taxes on their tools and equipment, which does not hurt government pets such as lawyers and accountants and actually increases their business,
  • discriminating against many professions because some people believe they are immoral, such as prostitution or marijuana suppliers,
  • discrimination against some people in education and the exchange of ideas,
  • preventing those with little wealth or income from entering many professions or trades,
  • using minimum wage laws to discriminate against the undereducated and the disabled,
  • using minimum wage laws to discriminate against young people lacking previous job experience or those living in low-cost-of-living areas (popular with unions),
  • limiting the number of companies providing services to bolster the income of those previously in business,
  • as a change-up, forcing companies and associations to grant special privileges to unions, people of favored races, people with handicaps, and to governments,
  • requiring people to purchase goods and services, such as the services of accountants and lawyers by businesses, health insurance under ObamaCare, seatbelts in cars, child safety seats, high mileage vehicle mandates, unnecessary radiation inspection services for fully contained radiation sources, 
  • the regulation and taxation of fossil fuels due to unproven and scientifically wrong fantasies of man-made global warming disasters,
  • subsidies for favored people, companies, institutions, and industries, such as the cake-taking ethanol, wind generation, and solar power industries,
  • manipulations of the value of the dollar to favor financial institutions or exporters or importers,
  • restrictions on foreign competition such as the Jones Act provisos against foreign-owned shipping,
  • interference with railroad and trucking rate structures,
  • bailing out companies with strong union ties, such as GM and Chrysler, at the expense of other companies and taxpaying consumers,
  • the massive transfer of wealth from the private sector to governments,
  • requiring the payment of labor union labor rates on government projects or by government contractors,
  • crippling American businesses with much higher taxes and regulatory burdens than foreign competitors have,
  • and interfering with or failing to ease restrictions on foreign trade, since every individual has the right to trade with others, even when they are in foreign nations.
Of course, many of these restrictions on the freedom of association and work are justified with claims that public safety or the prevention of fraud make them necessary.  These claims are commonly exaggerated in the interest of some special interest, often that of the politician to award his friends and contributors being the foremost special interest.  Fraud should be combated with vigorous legal action against actual instances of fraud, not by overly active imaginations conjuring up ways in which someone in a profession might defraud a customer.  These anti-fraud prevention schemes will always cause more trouble than they address.  They gain traction, however, because many Progressive elitists believe the People are too stupid to choose their own associations well.  The People are imagined to be defenseless against fraud.  Somehow, the government will anticipate every possible fraud and prevent it.  Or so it wants us to believe.  In fact, it is mostly just successful in keeping entrepreneurs from competing for the business of a nation of sovereign individuals.

One of the best organizations in fighting such abuses of governmental power is the Merry Band of Freedom Litigators at the Institute for Justice. They have a long and successful track record of attacking irrational licensing laws and other approaches to preventing people from working and earning a living.  Here is a recent example of their work:
As demonstrated by a series of eight new reports issued in October 2010 by the Virginia-based Institute for Justice, one of the principal obstacles to creating new jobs and entrepreneurial activity in cities across the country is the complex maze of regulations cities and states impose on small businesses.  IJ’s “city study” reports are filled with real-world examples of specific restrictions that often make it impossible for entrepreneurs to create jobs for themselves, let alone for others.
The Institute for Justice has documented how police in Pine Hills, near Orlando, used barber licensing laws there, to fine barbers hundreds of dollars who had years of experience as barbers, but no license.  These raids on unlicensed barbers were used as a cover to search for drugs without a search warrant, showing how a disregard for some individual rights commonly leads to a disregard for other rights.  They also found that in eight major metropolitan areas, nearly one in three professions requires a license.  In the 1950s only about one in twenty professions needed a license.  One of the best ways to reduce unemployment is simply to let people work.  No subsidies are needed, no tax breaks are needed, and no government-sponsored training need be provided.  The governments simply need to get out of the damn way and allow people to work!

My bullet list above provides reason after reason for why Americans are unable to find jobs or to create their own jobs now.

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