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Infectious Statism

Here’s a letter sent to the New York Times:

Ellen Bravo believes that children who get sick with infectious diseases such as the flu are rushed too quickly back to school because their parents must return to work (Letters, April 18).  Her solution: “we must pass public policy guaranteeing paid sick days.”

Ms. Bravo rushes too quickly to a rude and crude ‘solution.’  The numbers of paid sick days, along with other working conditions and wages, are the results of the voluntary choices of millions of diverse workers and employers, each of whom must make unavoidable trade-offs in ways that each person judges best for himself or herself.  Ms. Bravo ignores this reality.  She either arrogantly presumes that the high value that she places on paid sick days should be forced on everyone, or she carelessly proposes legislation without bothering to consider its inevitable consequences on the very people whose welfare she claims to champion.

Donald J. Boudreaux

How would Ms. Bravo – or any typical reader of the Gray Lady – react to a call for legislation that bans all women with school-age children from working?  Such legislation would accomplish the same end that Ms. Bravo apparently believes is so important as to trump many (all?) other values and trade-offs.


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