Going protean

To Outsmart ObamaCare, Go Protean is an article from The Wall Street Journal about how to keep the number of employees under 50 which is necessary if a business is to remain out of the reach of Obamacare. The core suggestion is that businesses stop employing and contract everything out creating what is described as a “protean corporation”. Why I mention it, though, is because I thought this observation of the partnership of employees with the government was particularly sharp:

When a person is an employee, he or she is, by definition, in partnership with the government — the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, etc. — and is subject to all the government’s regulations. But when a protean corporation enters into a relationship with that same person, now a corporation, it is a purely contractual relationship with a fellow enterprise. As long as there is no fraud or breach of contract, and the agreement is legal, the government really has nothing to say.

The notion that the government really has nothing to say is highly unlikely but there really is something in the suggestion. As usual, in its efforts to make employment more secure it has made it less so, but there’s nothing new about that when it comes to government policy.

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