“We would be outraged if laws prevented some people from marrying. We should be similarly enraged by these laws.”

That’s a line from a Labor Day blog post by John McGinnis. After noting that :

Sigmund Freud was not right about everything, but he was certainly correct that love and work are the necessary conditions of a satisfied life.

While modern America has cleared out obstacles to love, however unconventional, it has put up more and more impediments to work.

McGinnis goes on to identify four such impediments:

The tax code … raises most income from labor, not consumption. As a result, the government discourages work more than is required to run its operations….

Minimum wage laws prevent the least talented and able among us from participating in work. The fifteen dollar minimum wage favored by the 2016 Democratic platform would prevent many from earning an honest living. The effects will be even greater in the long than the short run, because employers will over time then substitute more machines for unskilled workers….

Generous disability laws lead some citizens not to work. A far greater percentage of people are today judged disabled than in the 1950s, although the health of Americans has substantially improved since then. The result is that the able “disabled” live in isolation with no civic engagement, spending their time watching TV or playing video games.

And, finally:

Licensing laws … prevent unnecessarily prevent people from working in their chosen trade. It is not necessary to study for two years braid hair or to take courses in aesthetics to design apartment interiors.

Jon Guze / Director of Legal Studies

Jon Guze is the Director of Legal Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the John Locke Foundation, Jon practiced law in Durham, North Carolina for over twent...

Reader Comments