My letter to the Philadelphia Inquire re: Who benefits from labor laws?

Re: Where to Invade Next, directed by Michael Moore

Dear Sirs:
I look forward to watching Michael Moore’s recent film that purports to show how Europeans and Africans have passed laws, such as long maternity leaves that must be paid by employers, that benefit “society”. I doubt that Mr. Moore has ever asked himself who benefits from such laws. Big business is behind most of them. Such laws create barriers to low cost competitors and harm the very people whom the laws claim to help. For example, small business will refrain from hiring young women, if they might be forced to pay for generous maternity leave. Minimum wage laws were supported by labor unions in order to price minorities–immigrants, blacks, women–out of the labor markets. They still do. Mr. Moore needs to ask himself this question: If the benefits from labor laws are so wonderful, why is the police power of the state required to force employers to offer them? Wouldn’t companies who adopted such benefits, or even more generous ones, become more successful? I suspect that Mr. Moore has answered the question himself. According to Mr. Derakhshani’s review, Mr. Moore admits that he is showing only one side of each law–the beneficiary that he sees. This is akin to showing only the genteel lifestyle of antebellum, slave-holding Southern aristocrats.

Patrick Barron

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