måndag 19 maj 2008

Stupid proposed legislation item #1

The government is proposing to introduce a mass of new legislation in the next session. On item is improved employment rights, especially for temporary workers.

On the face of things, this is a good idea. What could be better than giving employees more rights? Indeed, what could possibly be wrong with such legislation?

First, employers cannot be forced to employ anyone. If they find the terms of employment onerous, they will just not take anyone on at all. And since, due to the tax system, an employer must pay about 80 pence to the government in tax, for every £1 that the employee receives in take-home pay, which is all that an employee is ultimately concerned about, government already imposes a heavy burden on employees, to the point that labour is mistakenly seen as a COST of production and not a CAUSE of production, which it obviously is. Wages, properly speaking are the share of production that goes to labour, and labour-related taxes are nothing more than an impost on employers; effectively, they are a complicated sort of payroll tax. And to that extent, by adding to labour costs, these taxes act against the interests of workers by creating an artificial scarcity of work.

Which leads to the question of employee's rights. If jobs are plentiful, then labour does not need to be protected by legislation. And if they are scarce, then the legislation is of marginal benefit anyway. And since the tax system is the main cause of scarcity of jobs, the government would do more good to address this problem instead.

Will they? Of course not. They can only tinker, and the Conservatives promise nothing better.

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