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Yes, Virginia, government is responsible for fringe benefits

Does the Hobby Lobby decision open the door for a storm of companies dropping fringe benefits?
Does the Hobby Lobby decision open the door for a storm of companies dropping fringe benefits?
By Randy Pope

The Supreme Court decision, in the Hobby Lobby case, allowing corporations to opt out of providing contraception as a fringe benefit for employees, has caused some to go apoplectic. The Marxist influence on the thinking of many has resulted in class warfare. Viewing “the man” as the enemy has resulted in the belief that anyone who has achieved success has done so by stepping on “the little guy.” The logical conclusion for these Marxist thinkers is that the Hobby Lobby decision has opened the door for “the man” to further take advantage of his employees.

The Marxist god is the state. Nothing good can come from any other source. If the state does not force men to do good no one will ever do good. Therefore if the state does not force “the man” to provide fringe benefits for his employees he will never provide fringe benefits.

It is true that man is basically evil and aside from the grace of God he will always choose evil. In His sovereignty God can even use evil to accomplish good. The origin of fringe benefits is a good example of this truth.

During WWI wage and price controls were set in place ostensibly to divert resources into the war effort. The state was able to appeal to the verdant sense of patriotism at the time to encourage Americans to endure the shortages caused by the controls. Once again during WWII wage and price controls were enacted by the state. The appeal to patriotism was successful to a degree once again, but America's involvement in WWII was more prolonged and a greater share of GDP was consumed. As a result labor unrest became a problem during WWII.

A prominent characteristic of the successful man is resourcefulness. Even the successful man does not wish to live in constant conflict with his employees. The easiest way to deal with the labor unrest would have been to increase wages; the state had removed that remedy by law. Every time one finds a solution to one problem he creates another problem. The state will never be able to address any problem comprehensively. The leadership in industry found their way around the wage controls by creating the fringe benefit.

Yes, Virginia, government is responsible for the creation of fringe benefits. Not in the fashion the Marxist thinker would have thought though. The "evil, greedy" captains of industry, did something the Marxist never believed they would do, they enhanced the living conditions of their employees, in the only way they could; fringe benefits.

The Hobby Lobby decision certainly opens the door for employers to deny their employees particular fringe benefits. In a market fraught with unemployment it is probable that cut backs will necessitate the loss of some benefits. It may be that some creative businesses will find an increase in benefits to be cheaper than an increase in wages.

The Hobby Lobby decision, Marxist thinkers notwithstanding, is not the end of fringe benefits. The Hobby Lobby decision merely opens more options for management and labor to work out wage and benefit packages without the burdens of state restrictions. The Hobby Lobby decision does not totally lift the burden of state regulation in the relationship between labor and management, but it is a step in the right direction.

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