"Wide-ranging de-regulation of labor markets would produce an immediate economic jolt without costing taxpayers a dime. Labor markets are hobbled every day by ever-more intrusive regulations and taxes, with two costly consequences. First, they reduce the opportunities for gains from trade between employers and employees. Quite simply, if the cost of regulatory or tax compliance exceed the joint gains from the transaction, the deal is off. Second, these regulations add huge administrative expenses, both in the direct costs of government enforcement and in private compliance costs. We should never spend tax dollars to reduce productive activity.
So we have to bid farewell to the egalitarian mantra that we can lift the nation up out of its doldrums by raising minimum wages to living wages, by tightening overtime regulation, by strengthening public and private unions, by extending family-leave protection, by continuing with aggressive enforcement of the anti-discrimination laws based on race, sex and age, by imposing health-care mandate on employers, and by extending un-employment benefits. The tragic truth is that these feel good measures his hardest at the bottom end of the labor markets, especially minority teenagers desperate to gain work experience. Employers won't hire if they think that reforms are short-term gimmicks. Protectionist policies never work. But long-term stable reform could and should reverse those dismal un-employment and labor-participation figures."
Oh how I wish that I had been Professor Epstein' class monitor for this examination. Avoiding just a few of the pertinent facts was almost a crime in my day and age and it's difficult for me to imagine anyone who knows anything about the pertinent problems regarding employment to allow a passing grade for this "essay". Yes, I know it was merely an addenda to a politically inspired effort to convince folks that whatever is not working in our society is the fault of the other party.
First off, there will be no "wide-ranging" deregulation of our labor markets without the expressed consent of our Congress. There may actually be a politically inspired effort to do so, but as long as our government is regulated by the efforts of the Congress and the approval of our President, we should not be intimidated by thoughts as expressed by Professor Epstein. Don't let anyone scare you into believing otherwise.
And there will be no economic jolts in the labor marketplace as there are few - in any, organizations capable of energizing such an event, the threats of certain legislators notwithstanding.
Nor are there any egalitarian mantras" other than the wishful thinking of those who have been to the "market" and failed in the process. We get confused by the size of many of out corporations and are tempted to believe that their policies and practices are at the root of many of our problems regarding employment, but the heart and soul of the labor force still carries the proverbial "lunch bucket" to and from their places of employment. Alas, they do not have any real power. Proof of this is found in the recent efforts to raise the minimum wage by picketing McDonalds and their closest competitors.
If we want to address the "problems" cited by the good Professor, all we really need to do is have the leaders of the major employers in our nation, to invite the leaders of 100 or more various groups claiming to represent the working class, to a "retreat" lasting a week or more in some exotic place, far removed from the "media" and earnestly address the issues they have agreed upon to discuss. Then, turn the findings over to the public-at-large for their approval.
Anything less would be an insult to all who earnestly seek resolution to the real problems we are experiencing. It might be entitled - Democracy in Action. Who knows, there might even be some who would report having "seen" smiles on the faces of our founding fathers.