Compound Stupidity

So I hear next week the health care “reform” law is going back before the Supreme Court. This time it’s due to claims of religious exemption by employers — Hobby Lobby being the largest party to this — to a mandate for insurance policies to cover contraception. What follows is what I think of all that, point by point:

  • A moment of history: the employer based insurance system is a relic created by an old quirk in New Deal era state/corporate collaboration. Wages for a time were capped, so to get around that benefits in non-wage forms were offered. This calcified over time into an expectation, then into a form of indirect control (workers don’t exert as much mobility if they’re constantly afraid they’ll lose something in the process). Rather than obliterate this piece of boss-empowering nonsense, the “reform” formalized it by way of mandate. For something so cheered in the shriveled pragprog corners, it sure whiffed right past consideration that it’d be weaponized against labor via culture war crap…
  • Due to the system described above, IMO the insurance portion should be seen as additional compensation, basically deferred payment. Try to imagine with a straight face your employer setting rules on what you can and cannot spend your paycheck on & the logic problem shows itself. Since such restrictions on money aren’t feasible, then this marks the insurance benefit as a lesser class of compensation & suggests a direct method to get around it if the U.S. labor movement would only seize it: screw the benefit, demand the wages that would’ve covered it.
  • As the article describes, the point of the legal corporation is to be an entity separate from those that run it. The increasing commonality of claiming strong bonds between one person’s religious beliefs & how the corporation deals with its workers smacks of having ones cake & eating it too: is the company just a profit seeking beast or is it Your Special Baby? Pick one.
  • While we’re at it, let’s remember that corporate status itself as we know it is a government grant of privilege. That is, with its legal benefits in the form of liability limit and sharper division between capital and labor, it is not a structure inherent to market order that’d exist in lieu of the state. Technically, the terms of such can be rewritten, and in this case it was rewritten as a semi-ameliorative matter to a consequence of its existence (selling ones labor to large corporations being the enforced economic norm). Their argument effectively being that it is an injustice to add qualifying terms to a state benefit is quite curious when you consider the types politically on their side are the same ones screaming for food stamp recipients to be drug tested…

In short, we have within a Rube Goldbergian law that enshrines a ridiculous & archaic system a hypocritical conflict from a creature chafing against the rules of its creator. Rather than endure such bickering over control of our lives while we stand helplessly at the sidelines, the goal of labor in this country should be to make this entire damn mess irrelevant.


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
This entry was posted in law, random shots. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Compound Stupidity

  1. Pingback: Can a corporation have religious scruples? | Phil Ebersole's Blog

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