Vail Daily letter: ‘Atlas Shrugged’
Vail, CO, Colorado
David Le Vine expressed concern about the decline of high wage jobs in the United States. He blames free trade, which allows us to buy cheaper goods from abroad. The wage differential is one reason America has become a less desirable place for many businesses to operate.
But that is not the whole story. If you were a manufacturer or resource developer, you would have the following additional concerns:
Unions, with work rules that impede efficient operations. Ask the car manufacturers. Discrimination laws that make every employee dispute a federal case, with attendant legal costs. Environmental regulations. Like those impeding development of energy in Colorado, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and California. The “cap and trade” bill is the latest example. Taxes on income, property, etc. Take California. Part of its financial distress is the drain of high-income residents and businesses moving to other states.
Lax law enforcement. One business sees its competitors get away with hiring low-wage illegals. This means a higher cost of doing business for the law-abiding employer.
Government-imposed compensation rules — minimum wage, family leave, the proposed paid leave for those ‘afflicted with H1N1, employer mandates in the Obamacare plan now passing through Congress.
Government aid to politically favored sectors of the economy. Paid for by the rest of us.
You can say there’s a good reason for each of these impositions. That may be true, in some cases, up to a point. But it appears overkill has happened. In any case, when feel-good laws are proposed, don’t think they can be enacted without some cost to the economy. Ayn Rand covered this in “Atlas Shrugged.” The people who produce get fed up with being overburdened, so they go on strike. In the real world today, they move offshore.