Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What the hell is the American Enterprise Institute doing being involved in a discussion like this?

AEI has an ongoing series of articles on paid family leave which are jointly overseen by the institute's own Aparna Murtha and Isabel Sawhill of Brookings. Today's installment is written by University of Virginia economics professor Christopher Ruhm.

His CV makes it pretty clear he's cool with government involvement in the lives of free individuals and private organizations and is one of these wonks whose concern for big-picture aspects of life such as health and work incline him toward seeing them as "public policy" rather than givens of human existence most effectively dealt with by individual choice-making.

He makes his premise clear at the outset by trotting out the kind of all-the-other-kids-in-the-class-are-doing-it factoid that collectivists always think are going to be compelling:

The United States is one of two countries without a national policy providing new mothers with rights to paid leave following the birth of a child. Most industrialized nations also offer fathers paid time off the job (although often much less than mothers). 
From there, assuming he's established an irrefutable premise, he looks at how the particulars might be worked out: how incremental it should be, how widespread eligibility should be, and the like.

You get the idea.

What I'd like to share with you is the comment thread underneath. Lately, when I've done that, it's to show what a bunch of boneheads are chiming in on the subject at hand. Today, however, at least the first several commenters have much more clarity on the basic principle of liberty than the essay's author:

Discussion: (4 comments)

  1. Developing a National Paid Parental Leave Policy
    It’s interesting that folks of a bent proceed from such assumptions. They always decline to establish, for instance, that we need a national policy for parental leave. It’s such a widespread failure that I have to conclude it’s deliberately Alinsky-esque in its attempt to control the discussion.
    The United States is one of two countries without a national policy providing new mothers with rights to paid leave following the birth of a child.
    And then this non sequitur keeps getting dragged out as it it matters that we don’t look like the rest of the world. Never mind that, more substantively, we aren’t like the rest of the world. There aren’t very many federated republics extant.
    At present, we simply do not know what the ideal leave program for the US would look like.
    Yes we do. It’s what each of the 50 States in our republic think one would look like–it’s what the citizens of each of those States think is best for themselves. Full stop.
    Eric Hines
    1. Totally agree with Eric here, the details should be up to the states, especially since it will be provided through Medicaid as currently written in the FAMILY Act. The individual states that have implemented it have done so with success, so let’s keep encouraging more states to do so. Wrote more about the economic benefits here — http://capitolstartup.com/how-the-family-act-and-paid-maternity-leave-would-affect-the-us-economy/
  2. Here’s an idea, let’s keep the government out of it and let companies fight for the best employees via pay and benefits packages.
  3. Having a child is a personal choice like buying a car. If you can’t afford it don’t make others subsidize this through required benefits paid by employers. This is another discriminatory practice against those those who do not choose to parent. I’m very disappointed with AEI for supporting such policy that supports government force to add another burden to business.

It all goes back to what ought to be the first law of economics in any school thereof:

A good or service is worth what buyer and seller agree that it is worth. Period. No other entity - certainly not government - has any business being involved in coming to that agreement.

I hope more folks weigh in on this.

I really do not understand how one of the most important organizations for the defense of freedom got involved with this.

Maybe it happened over lunch in some tony Beltway eatery, washed down with a refreshing glass of Potomac water.

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