Are our laws producing “identity politics” and the divisions it fosters?
A scientist, or perhaps it was an engineer, once asked the political philosopher Harry Jaffa for a general scientific rule about politics. After reflecting upon the bizarre request, Jaffa came up with the following:
S = 2P, where “S” = solution and “P” = problem. Politics is tragic; there are no final solutions.
Looking back at the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed by Congress in 1990, one has to be struck by the extent to which the ADA’s lofty sentiments have been overwhelmed by its adverse results. If it’s true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the ADA is a veritable Autobahn of wishful thinking gone awry. Yet no one seems inclined to reroute the ill-fated traffic; some states are even widening the highway with additional lanes.
Obama’s employment law agenda consists of laying siege to employers’ management rights.
Earlier this week the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Mach Mining LLC v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (transcript and briefs). It’s a fairly big deal for employers, and another small window in the administration’s quaint views of administrative law.
The case concerns the EEOC’s enforcement practices. After the agency files a notice against an employer, conducts its investigation, and finds “reasonable cause” to proceed, it “shall endeavor to eliminate any such alleged unlawful employment practice by informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion.” 42 U.S.C. 20002-5(b). What happens if they don’t do that prior to filing suit, or do a snow job on the employer? Nothing, says EEOC. The provision is unreviewable.
No, not traffic cop ticket-writing quotas: Government-mandated quotas for hiring criminals. We’re that close to them.
The latest decrees, from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), would virtually prohibit employers from using criminal background checks to screen job applicants. But unlike earlier passivity, the outrage from employers is now actually provoking a rebellion, including the improbable combination of BMW and Dollar General stores—both of which are united in their need for trustworthy employees.
The IRS stories keep piling up, on top of the other Obama Administration curiosities. Among all the worthy reading, one recent NY Times article remains the most revealing of the many that might be read. See as well my previous post on the “Professionally Political IRS.”
As well, two other commentators need to be kept in mind—investigative reporter and Calvin Coolidge scholar Charles C. Johnson and the sober Pete Spiliakos, who blogs regularly at Postmodern Conservative (a lively team led by Peter Lawler).
Last Sunday’s New York Times had a lengthy article on the “unglamorous” Cincinnati IRS office, which some would identify as the focus of IRS evil. For the most part, the reporting supports the Administration’s current narrative that an out-of-control bureaucracy of this “independent” agency created the current mischief. So, some advise, increase the IRS training budget for the sake of this “understaffed Cincinnati outpost that was alienated from the broader I.R.S. culture and given little direction.” (It also buys into the falsehood (link no longer available) that in 2010 the IRS was “flooded” with 501(c)(3) and 501(c)( 4) applications, when in fact these were fewer than in the previous year. )