Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Economics Comedy Gold

by Tom Bozzo

The Chamber of Commerce's "Economic Impacts of Mandatory Sick Leave Ordinance" report, which the Chamber stands behind except for the screwed-up calculations, is just the gift that keeps giving. A few quick morning whacks (quotes from the report in purpletext):

This is not the first instance where the City Council has mandated policy on Madison businesses. (p. 4)

No kidding! Probably not the last, either.

Many social policy initiatives are promoted with less than perfect information, or worse, are based on biased or selectively supportive information bits. (p. 4)

Mr. Pot, meet Ms. Kettle.

In fact, the overall economic impact on Madison has not shown up directly in the economic growth numbers. However, at the business level the effects are real. (p. 4)

They're campaigning for the Purple Teardrop with Clutched Pearls award, I see. Makes you wonder who's patronizing the new Jaguar dealer (O.K., nobody, given their current product range, but you get the point). The usual — i.e., supported by the data — story is that the positive economic headlines have mainly reflected good times for business interests and the rich who hold most of the equity, while digging through the details shows conditions have been less favorable for ordinary workers.

Other states have employee sick pay programs that are far less costly and do not put businesses at a competitive disadvantage. For example, California has a fund for worker sick wage relief that is funded by employees. It costs each worker just $27 per year. (p. 6)

Hard to say what this refers to, in the absence of a citation, but I guess it's the California Paid Family Leave insurance program. The report doesn't mention that while the PFL program is useful, it's not remotely equivalent to sick leave in that there's an unpaid waiting period, routine illnesses are ineligible for coverage, and there's no right to take leave.

Educate don’t Legislate [sic] (p. 7)

Economists shouldn't try to channel the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Period.

[continuing directly] Mandatory benefits packages hurt progressive, responsible companies by decreasing their competitive advantage of flexible and responsive compensation offerings. Studies have shown that giving employees time off for family wellness needs is cost effective for the firm.

Darn that city for trying to force blockheaded business owners to take away the competitive advantages of their more enlightened competitors! You might think that if providing time off is "cost effective for the firm," the subsequent analysis of business profitability might show something to that effect. It doesn't.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?