05/19/2017

The Progressives Took Away Our Right To Contract. It's Time To Reclaim It

Eddie Stamper, Competitive Enterprise Institute

According to surveys, 77 percent of millennials want flexible work hours, which many say makes them more productive at work. Yet some recent employment regulations aim at making work hours more regular.

The tension between the wants of younger workers and the demands of employment regulators could lead to the resurgence of a battle last fought between the world wars. Freedom of contract lost the last time around. Could it be different this time?

The battle was over “the right to earn a living,” as the Goldwater Institute’s Timothy Sandefur succinctly puts it.

Sandefur’s review of the history of this right goes all the way back to the great English jurist Sir Edward Coke, who used principles established in Magna Carta to declare, “At the common law, no man could be prohibited from working at any lawful trade.” Furthermore, “By the very common law, it was lawful for any man to use any trade thereby to maintain himself and his family; this was both lawful, and also very commendable.”

Common law allowed anyone to enter into contractual negotiations with another party to ply a trade. Therefore, the King’s attempts to impose monopolies were unlawful.

This right persisted for centuries. It was celebrated at the American Founding by Thomas Jefferson, who said, “Every one has a natural right to choose for his pursuit such one of them as he thinks most likely to furnish him sustenance” (sources for this and the following quotes can be found in Sandefur’s article.)

Attacking the Right To Contract

It was important to abolitionist thought, with Frederick Douglass commenting on his first contracted job, “I was not only a freeman but a free-working man, and no Master Hugh stood ready at the end of the week to seize my hard earnings.”

Yet, as Sandefur chronicles, the right to contract with anybody you choose on your own terms came under strong attack during the Progressive era.

 

Read full article



You May Also Like:

Charles Krauthammer, Conservative Commentator And Pulitzer Prize Winner, Dead At 68 [Watch] Elizabeth Llorent, Fox News

The Example Of Charles Krauthammer Peter Wehner, The New York Times

I Grew Up On Charles Krauthammer Ben Shapiro, The Daily Wire

Charles Krauthammer, A Great Thinker And An Even Better Friend Irwin Stelzer, The Wall Street Journal

Survey: Most Voters Blame Parents Of Separated Kids, Not The Federal Govt For Current Border Crisis Kemberlee Kaye, Legal Insurrection

Obama Criticizes Trump For Family Separation, But Ignores Own Record Of Separating Families Charlie Spiering, Breitbart

The Kochtopus Crushes Nashville Transit Kyle Smith, National Review

Supreme Court Rules States Can Require Online Sellers To Collect Sales Tax Lydia Wheeler And Naomi Jagoda, The Hill

Trump’s Critics Desecrate The Holocaust Jay Winik, The Wall Street Journal

Here’s How Trump Wants To Streamline Government Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal

Illegal Immigration, Internment Camps, And Useful Idiots David Catron, The American Spectator

A Screaming Rabid Radical, Employed By The Department Of Justice Monica Showalter, American Thinker

The Folly Of Multiculturalism Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media

DC Has More Psychopaths Than Any Other Place In Country, Study Finds Circa News

Starbucks Burned By Social-Justice Appeasement As Growth Stalls, Stock Plunges Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times

For More go to the Home Page >>>

Join Our Email List



section

Bookshelf

FreeMarket Central

Some titles recent, all recommended -

Special Video Feature

FreeMarket Central

Voices From The 2017 International Students For Liberty Conference

section

In Search Of History

The Reagan Tax Cuts Worked

Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).

 

-- Daniel J. Mitchell,

Shadow Stats Snapshot


FreeMarket Central

ShadowStats alternate economic indicators are based on the methodology of noted economist John Williams, specialist in government economic reporting.

  • Unemployment:
    FreeMarket Central BLS: 3.93%
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 21.5%
  • Inflation:
    FreeMarket Central May Year-to-Year: 2.46% (CPI-U*)
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 9.9%

*[cpi-u is the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation rate for all urban consumers]

section