45: A Soapbox Rant – This is Jennifer

U.S. DOL is Promoting Mandatory Paid Time Off
Listen to this Episode

“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.”? – Frederick Bastiat

Last week I was preparing an episode on paid time off, and during my research I came across something that really lit a fire in my sole.

There is no federal paid time off law….yet… but I wanted to see what the U.S. Department of Labor is up to on the subject. The DOL is constantly trying to increase their control over the labor market. They would love nothing more than to regulate every aspect of the employee/employer relationship. I’m sure they stay up late a night twirling their thumbs laughing in modulating evil tones as they conspire to one day dictate every action involving labor.

The camel’s nose in the tent:

You know the saying about the camel’s nose in the tent? It’s a metaphor for a situation where you let one innocent and unimportant thing happen that ends up opening the door for bigger and more obvious undesirable things to happen later.

U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater used the metaphor in expressing his opposition to the National Defense Education Act in 1958.

He said “This bill and the foregoing remarks of the majority remind me of an old Arabian proverb: “If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow.” If adopted, the legislation will mark the inception of aid, supervision, and ultimately control of education in this country by the federal authorities.”

Spot on, Mr. Goldwater… 58 years later and the federal government exerts a tremendous amount of control over education.

The U.S. DOL’s paid leave agenda:

So what did I find? What’s go me so fired up? This is Jennifer, that’s what. This is Jennifer is a sales video produced by the US DOL. It’s a sales tool for Secretary Perez to use on a nationwide sales campaign to either get every state to pass maternity leave laws or, worse, get the “voting public” to support federal legislation establishing mandatory maternity paid time off.

This is what the DOL says:

“The most important family value of all is time together. With the changing nature of our 21st-century workforce, it’s getting harder and harder to balance the demands of the family you love and the job you need. Change has yet to come to Washington, but momentum is growing in the states: So far, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut and several cities have passed paid family and medical leave or earned sick days laws. It’s time to update workplace policies that are stuck in the past and give more Americans paid leave to care for those they love or their own illness without risking their economic security. It’s time for us to #LeadOnLeave.”

Breaking it down: 

The most important family value of all is time together.

Really? For everyone? Maybe honesty and integrity are more important to some families than spending time together. A lot of people think serving God is more important then spending time together. Maybe charity work or fitness are more important. Besides that, a lot of people don’t like their family so spending more time tougher isn’t their most important value.

With the changing nature of our 21st-century workforce, it’s getting harder and harder to balance the demands of the family you love and the job you need.

No, it isn’t the changing nature of the workforce, it’s the growth of government, taxes, inflation. Just because you keep changing the formula for calculating inflation doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We’re not stupid, we go to the grocery store and we see the shrinking size of the cereal boxes while the prices stay the same or even go up slightly. We buy clothes and see that prices are going up and the quality is going down. And our health insurance plans are getting more expensive as premiums rise and benefits go down.

It’s the fact that the Fed has orchestrated the loss of 96% of the purchasing power of the dollar since 1913. It’s the manipulation of interest rates that distorts the cost of money that leads to easy credit that causes people to spend beyond their limits and turn them into credit slaves.

Besides that, some people love their job and like going to work more than they like being at home. It’s a reality. I’m not one of them but those people are out there.

Change has yet to come to Washington, but momentum is growing in the states: So far, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut and several cities have passed paid family and medical leave or earned sick days laws.

As it should be! Leave to the sates to decide for themselves. This isn’t the federal government’s job! I hope this change never comes to Washington. A strong federal government was not what this country was founded on. This was a union, a coalition of independent states who wanted to pool resources and have a community clubhouse not an masterplanned community dictating what type of plants  you can have in your front yard.

It’s time to update workplace policies that are stuck in the past and give more Americans paid leave to care for those they love or their own illness without risking their economic security.”

This phrase has been the battle cry of social engineers lately, “stuck in the past”. Yeah, freedom and individual responsibility is so yesterday. Common, we’re past that now. We need the Federal government to make sure we are economically secure. If Uncle Sam isn’t there to take care of us who will? We’re obviously not able to take care of ourselves and if something bad happens to me my family and friends for sure won’t help.

I’m sorry, but the federal government’s role isn’t to protect our economic security. No government is capable of that without compromising the economic security of everyone. What part of the government doesn’t have any money other than that which they take from you through taxation or inflation don’t you understand?

And finally, the clever hashtag #leadonleave.

Why don’t we get back to leading on freedom and let free people decide who they work for, under what conditions, for how long, and for how much?

Then we have the video. The video compares the US to Germany where the US requires no paid time off for maternity, to 14 days required in Germany. It says that we are one of the only countries in the world without a maternity paid time off requirement. So do we have to mandate that every employe gets 15 days of paid maternity leave to lead on leave?

The DOL’s agenda goes far beyond Maternity leave. This is just the low hanging fruit. Who, in their right mind, is not for forcing all employers to pay for 15 days of paid maternity leave?

Do you think that it won’t come at the expense of something else? Like pay rates or vacation time or benefits? Do you think the government can waive their magic wand and resources suddenly appear to pay for their mandates?  You’re not a wizard Mr. Perez.

I’m for paid leave….just not Federally mandated:

I want to be clear. I’m for paid leave. I’m a huge believer in it. I think every employer should offer it. But not every employer can afford it. Weather it’s a good idea or not is not the issue. The issue is freedom. The issue is the proper role of the federal government. We need to lead on freedom, not on paid leave. With freedom comes prosperity, the most prosperity for the most people. Freedom is how we became the greatest nation on earth. It’s how we became the richest country on earth. But that climax happened years ago. Now we are the largest debtor in the history of the world. We are the biggest bully in the school yard. We have to protect the reserve currency status at all costs or the gig will be up. Let the States worry about labor laws.

Big business loves government mandates, laws, rules, and regulations. Why? Because they create barriers to entry for competition. They keep small business out of the sandbox. This is why government is practically run by big business. They spend millions on lobbyists who own the politicians who do their bidding all in the name of the public good, all in the name of fairness.

I’m ending this soapbox session with a quote from Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law”, which was written in 1850.

Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.”

― Frédéric Bastiat

About the author, Thomas

I have 20 of years insurance industry experience in C-level management, focusing on all aspects of workers compensation, risk management, loss control, employee benefits, HR, payroll and professional employer organization (“PEO”) operations. Currently, I am the owner and CEO of Humanly HR, and founder and host of SmallBiz Brainiac; a podcast providing employer intelligence to small business owners.

Leave a Comment