And many of them, the vast majority of them, call themselves conservatives. Not only that, but they mock Democrats and liberals for being pro-Big Government, pro-Nannystate and disdainful of liberty. They call themselves “Reagan Republicans,” declaring like Reagan that Government should get out of the way.
And then they go and do something like this:
In February, Cantor had given a speech titled “Making Life Work,” in which he argued that the government should enact conservative policies that would make a difference in people’s daily lives. As an example, he said the government ought to make it easier for employers to offer flextime to their workers.
On May 8, the House passed a bill to do just that. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, workers who get an hourly wage must be paid 50 percent more for overtime work. They can’t take their compensation in the form of an equivalent amount of time off. The House bill, introduced by Alabama Republican Martha Roby, would make it possible for them to get an hour and a half off in the future in return for an hour of overtime today.
The operative phrases above indicate that a leading Republican, Cantor, and a leading conservative who according to his commentary agrees with Cantor, Ramesh Ponnuru, think that it is the government’s function to pass bills granting employers and employees things. Allowing them to do things. Now, one might argue that it is a legitimate tactic of the Right to use legislation to counter legislation of the Left (the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938). But they are completely oblivious (or maybe not) to the fact that specifying the terms of a contract, whether mandatory or not, between an employee and an employer is not a legitimate function of Congress.
There are two reasons to pass a law: 1. To prohibit something or 2. To mandate something. Saying that employer and employee may enter into an agreement is not a prohibition or a mandate. Why is it necessary for Congress to pass a law to allow two parties to enter into a contract? If the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 is burdensome, unnecessary or whatever, then why not repeal it? At what point did it not dawn on government types that an employer not wanting to pay that time-and-a-half for overtime had only to cut the hourly wage by one third to get around the 1938 law anyway?
Cantor, Ponnuru and the Republican establishment would have you think they are getting over on the Democrats and the Liberals with this legislative ploy but once again they are accepting the premise of the Left that to allow people to be free, to decide whether to employ or not employ, to be employed or not be employed, to offer terms or to accept terms requires the assent of Government. That is not a conservative position.
Now, it may be reality. We are not so Pollyanna-ish to think that if the Republicans just start thinking good thoughts, Big Fed is going to shrink overnight. Yes, there are political battles to be fought. But considering that the House bill is not likely to pass the Senate, then was it just an exercise to curry favor? With whom? Employers? Employees? The Republicans are already being vilified for the bill as being anti-worker so what will they gain?
Cantor says the government should enact policies that make a difference in peoples’ daily lives. The Democrats have been doing that for nigh onto a century. How’s that workin’ out for ya?
Crossposted at Grumpy Opinions