Thursday, August 10, 2017

End, Don’t Expand, NJ’s Paid Family Leave Coercion

About 10 years ago, New Jersey enacted a so-called “paid family leave” scheme, under which an employee payroll tax would be levied to pay people to take time off for certain family matters. Since not “enough” people have claimed the “benefits,” Trenton politicians are formulating an expanded, more expensive (higher taxes) scheme.

In an opinion piece, Jon Whiten of the Leftist (statist) New Jersey Policy Perspective argued for 5 reasons Christie should approve paid family leave fixes, calling the new scheme “a bargain for workers” that would “only” cost them $2.45 per week.

I left these comments:

Do-gooders and humanitarians always talk about some group—in this case, “workers”—but never about actual human beings. Who is Whiten and his political enforcers to claim this is a “bargain” for all workers, and then force it down everybody’s throats?

Notice the arrogance: This new bill will “only” cost each worker $2.45 per week. A few years ago, under the original act now in effect, we were told it would “only” cost $0.60 per week! This new bill is a 300% tax increase, pushing more marginal workers toward or below the official poverty line. Socialist programs grow like cancer, spreading poverty in ever-widening circles. Add all of the welfare state, government-imposed “safety net” programs together, and the burden becomes an increasingly unbearable dead weight, as the workers getting by on the margin get pushed over the financial edge with each new “bargain” welfare scheme.

What’s missing from all of these types of arguments is any discussion of the morality of the means of achieving it. I don’t care how many “practical” arguments he makes to tell us how good this is. If it must be forced by law—which means, at gunpoint—it is wrong and immoral and contrary to the proper function of a government. A government should protect equally the rights of all individuals to judge for themselves what’s good for them, and act accordingly. The right to say “no” is essential to freedom.

If some kind of “paid family leave” is as good as Whiten claims, there’d be enough of a market for this type of insurance for private companies to create them. There’d be enough interest among “workers” to form and join mutual aid organizations into which they could contribute voluntarily. Barring any of that, each individual can plan for his own family leave by saving in a personal “rainy day” fund (financial planners have long included such savings as part of personal finance).

Another issue is what right do politicians have to force this on employers. Notice the injustice: Only “workers” are considered. Not businessmen. Individual employers have a right to enact their own family leave fringe benefits if it fits his business plan, of course. But again, it is immoral to use law to force it on them.

Collectivism is a convenient moral escape hatch. One can seem to “care,” by virtue of naming some group, even as one disregards the rights of actual individual persons. On all of these types of programs, if private voluntary initiative won’t do it, then it doesn’t get done. There is no compassion in not respecting each individual’s right to decide for herself. The welfare state should be phased out. We can start with ending, rather than expanding, NJ’s paid family leave act.

Whiten and his New Jersey Policy Perspective can list all the reasons they want. But there is one reason why government-imposed paid family leave should be abolished: It is immoral because individual rights-violating.

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