Radio Commentary

The Wages of Supply Side

oday’s a great time to be employed in America. In 1997, wages and befits rose at the fastest pace in four years. The booming economy has produced a tight labor market, one where employers must increasingly offer incentives to prospective employees. Family-friendly environments are in place at more and more workplaces.

A recent survey of large and mid-size employers revealed that the percentage of companies that allowed time off for providing care to dependents has risen, from 32 percent just three years ago to 45 percent today. Child-care assistance is offered by 86 percent of the companies. In addition, job-sharing is proliferating, giving many employees greater flexibility. And 76 percent of the companies offer casual Fridays. The growth of both wages and benefits in recent years is proof that you can only improve the life of the wage earner by loosening the reins on the wage payer. You can’t get blood out of a stone, and you can’t force companies to pay higher wages and offer better benefits by taxing and regulating them to death. For the last 20 years or so, our leaders of both parties have indeed implemented some free market measures which resulted in an improved standard of living for the vast majority of us. Deregulation has played a big role, as have the tax cuts of the Reagan era. And so far, the government has wisely refrained from clamping down on Silicon Valley. There’s lots to be happy about, but let’s not forget what’s gotten us where we are—not a greater dependence on government, but a freer environment for entrepreneurs. w


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