Friday, January 30, 2009

Ledbetter Fairpay Act and the Rules of the Game

The liberal mindset is a fascinating one. Through the e-mails I get, comments, and exposure to there idiocy in the media, the rules of the game of politics are that the left makes the rules, whether you like it or not.

Using their line of thinking, if you argue against environmentalists, then you must not care about the environment. If you are against entitlement programs because you believe that such programs create an environment of dependency on the government, then you must believe that all poor people are lazy. If you believe something may possibly have some validity, such as the Obama Birth Certificate controversy, then that means you are in full agreement with anything and everything anyone says supporting that particular theory. If you claim to be pro-life, then you must believe that any woman that has an abortion should be jailed - and if you think there is anytime at any point before a child is born that justifies terminating a pregnancy, that automatically makes you pro-choice. If you voted against Obama, you are racist. If you support Israel you support the death of children. If you support the war in Iraq you are a baby killer (and you are being called this by people that support abortion all the way up to full term - go figure).

The latest attack, and I received a lot on this one after last night's video of McClintock's argument on the floor of The House, is that if you are against the Fairpay Act (a.k.a. the Ledbetter Act), you are against women being paid equally for equal work.

Like the examples above, this kind of thinking is narrow and idiotic, and is really only an attempt of doing what Liberals do best - try to discredit the Conservative with ridiculous, unresearched, stereotypical assumptions.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a bill that would enable discrimination lawsuits to proceed long after the alleged discrimination took place. In other words, the statute of limitations on these kinds of claims would be eliminated. Though it is assumed it will give women a better opportunity to pursue their cases, such limitations are vital to our justice system functioning properly, and the elimination of such will place our judicial system at a severe disadvantage. Surely, there are cases of merit that never are tried because the statute of limitations was exceeded, but more often than not these cases are the exception, rather than the rule. Limitations, however, are in place for more important reasons, including, but not limited to, stopping suits using evidence that is stale, prevent the destruction of defensive evidence, stop running up damages, and to quickly resolve the claims before the evidence, or memories of those involved, become faded or expired with time. The Ledbetter Act, by eliminating time limitations as this bill suggests, will create more harm than any good.

As we have talked about in the past regarding taxation of businesses, businesses see any costs (or potential costs) as a loss, and make moves to cover such losses. For example, an increase tax is an increased cost, and to compensate the business owner will reduce costs elsewhere to cover for such a cost increase. This may be done by using less expensive ingredients or components in the products, which usually also compromises the quality of the product. Or they will raise the prices of the products. Often, to cover such increases in costs they lay off personnel. Sometimes they even resort to moving their business to a less costly location, and if that means taking their business out of the country, they will do so.

With the Ledbetter Act, lawsuits would become more prevalent. The business will be afraid of doing anything that may be construed as being in violation of the act, so, employers will, as a result, reduce wages, decrease the number of people they employ, and change their business operations in the interest of avoiding lawsuits. In the long run, the very people that this bill is suppose to be helping will be hurt because the businesses will avoid hiring people that may sue them, thus reducing their legal risk - and if doing so means having less employees, they will do so.

I feel for people who believe they receive poor performance evaluations, and/or lower pay because of their gender or race. Bad business practices by employers sometimes surface, and if the motivation was in fact sexism or racism, punitive legal action may be the way to ensure the company, and others like it, don't do such things in the future.

However, like the Affirmative Action laws, mandates like the Ledbetter act cause more harm than good.

Eliminating limitations could have catastrophic results on our judicial system. They are in place to eliminate cases with stale demands in which the details may have been forgotten, or the evidence is out-dated, thus opening the door for assumptions and testimony that may not be fully accurate due to the lapse of time. Over time evidence may be lost or discarded, witnesses may not be available, or may die. Determining the exact intentions, motivations, or other subtleties of the relationships of those involved. After too much time has passed, these situations also places the attempt to get to the truth at a disadvantage. Statutes of limitations enable cases to be heard while the evidence is still fresh, and the defendants still have a fair opportunity to gather all of the evidence they may require in order to mount a legitimate defense. In short, time limitations prevent fraudulent claims and cases with faulty evidence or testimony as a result of too much time passing.

Also, by a case being brought up sooner, rather than later, other persons that may have been wronged by the defendant, by seeing the case while the evidence is still fresh, may have incentive to pursue their own cases, or if they believe the defendant is innocent, document and challenge the case in a timely fashion.

Limiting the time with statutes of limitations also protect defendants from long thought out strategies by the plaintiff. An example of this would be plaintiffs waiting for evidence to disappear, or memories to fade, before pursuing the case, so that they have a better advantage.

By not allowing cases to come to court after too long of a time period to pass the courts are essentially ensuring that the cases have more certainty and stability. Time limitations, in the long run, protect both the plaintiff and the defendant, and help maintain credibility in the system.

Because some cases of merit are not heard because of the expiration of the statute of limitations, it does not create the necessity to change the operation of law, and open Pandora's Box for greater injustices.

The Ledbetter Act is not about equal pay for women, it is about putting business at a disadvantage. After all, isn't that what we always hear from the left? Businesses are the enemy?

This is not to say that all businesses are innocent, or do not participate in gender-based discrimination. Pay discrimination is wrong if the motive is in fact based on factors beyond an individuals ability to perform their duties. But because a few businesses find a way to get away with it, we should not open the flood gates and allow employees to sue at any time after the supposed discrimination occurred. Such an action opens the door for fraud and injustice. Then, as the cases continue to increase, as stated earlier, employers will change their hiring and wage practices to protect themselves - and the very people the law is designed to protect will be hurt because the opportunities for employment will dry up.

But the rules of the game with liberals is not to take any of the legal ramifications into consideration. By being against the Ledbetter Act, in their eyes, you are against fair pay for women.

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