Killing jobs and stifling economic growth

There is an article by Richard Epstein on the usual array of labour market recommendationts that always appeal to the economically illiterate.

The constant uncertainty about taxes and regulations is a deal-killing transaction cost that produces no collateral benefits. So long as macro-economic policy remains fixated with moving all the levers at once in different directions, it will act as a drag on the marketplace. Stability of expectations is key to a strong macroeconomic market.

The same mistakes are now very much at work in labor markets, where they do more than their fair share to increase the high level of unemployment. The dominant, though mistaken, attitude is perfectly captured in a letter by Risa Kaufman, the Director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, who claims that ‘the United States’ failure to enact meaningful protections enabling workers to accommodate the demands of work and family is not only out of step with countries around the world, but it is also counter to international human rights standards.’

These human rights people find work to do everywhere they turn. Anything that makes life a bit tougher than someone might like is becoming a human rights issue which seems to be some kind of international disease. But every solution Ms Kaufman suggests will only make matters worse for the unemployed, and for the employed as well for that matter. As Epstein writes:

What theory of human rights finds a moral imperative in killing jobs to satisfy some abstract and noble ideal?

What’s the theory. The theory is that every problem is caused by someone doing something and that if they stopped doing whatever it was that was causing the problem, the problem would go away. They are not killing us with kindness, we are being killed by their ignorance and stupidity, but it’s nice of them to wish that things were better than they are.

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