Mar 28 2014
10:16 am

The current Supreme Court debate is based on a fairly tragic misunderstanding of reality.  It is widely held that employers use their money to pay employees to do their jobs.  As a shallow assessment, a snapshot of an instant in time, this works just fine.  At the deeper level it is completely nonsensical and promotes horribly fallacious thinking.

No employer hires or employs someone because that potential employee needs a job.  Few, if any, hire because they, the employer, are really nice guys. To do so would mean that an incredible level of luck would be needed for the business to last any significant length of time. (think: humongous inheritance)  The only reason an employer hires anyone is that they believe that directly or indirectly, in some way, they can make money on the employee, more than the employee costs to outfit and train.  The employer is taking a risk because if they are wrong about being able to make money from hiring the person, they will indeed suffer the loss of whatever fiscal outlay there was to train and outfit the person or the job.  If they are right, and they do make money on the employee, the monetary gratification is usually not instantaneous but delayed to a greater or lesser degree.  Either way, now or later, directly or indirectly, the employee generates the money that will be used to pay him/herself. (In the context of this essay, time=money so a time savings is functionally income for the would be employer.)

Once you understand that basic obviousity, the wrongness of the SC argument becomes clear.  The case should be dismissed.  In fact, it should never have been heard.  It would make more sense to give the employee(s) the power to dictate what could/should be done with the income they generate, over and above their in-hand compensation.  The employer should have no special rights to say what happens to money that would not flow through the business without the complicity of the employee.

If the business is successful, the employer is compensated, sometimes very well compensated, for the risks they take in hiring a new employee.  As someone who has been in the position of hiring, I know well that it is not always obvious whether or not an employee will work out.  Even when you check with references and previous employers, it can turn out that a given employee simply does not pan out.  There is definite risk from the standpoint of the employer.  However, in the case of any business that could be considered successful, money is made(or time is saved) from the efforts of each and every employee.  The janitor keeps the place clean and inviting so that customers and potential customers are comfortable coming in.  The receptionist might greet individuals in person and/or on the phone or even digitally.  Sales, accounting, engineering, maintenance, factory floor, and and and will all contribute in some way to the bottom line sufficiently to pay themselves or the business is a failure.

Though the employer may exercise a prerogative and negotiate a deal with a specific healthcare or insurance provider, the money that is used to pay for that deal, however good or bad it is, is generated by the efforts of the employees.  If the employee wants to buy beer or contraception, bicycles or abortions, buildings or gummy bears, the religious, political, economic, environmental,or other beliefs of the employer cannot be allowed to take precedence of the citizenship rights or human rights of the employee.  This is especially true if they are trying to use the employee generated income as the basis for limiting the rights of the employee.

#SCOTUS   #discomfortzone

R. Neal's picture

Hobby Lobby seems a little

Hobby Lobby seems a little inconsistent on this issue given all the stuff they import from China, where human and reproductive rights are about 180 degrees out of phase with Hobby Lobby's stated values.

Somebody's picture

Good point about China. I

Good point about China.

I wonder if Hobby Lobby's supporters in this would also support a Muslim-owned corporation if it wished to employ sharia law to govern its relationship with its employees? No lunch breaks during Ramadan!

michael kaplan's picture

employers usually pay their

employers usually pay their employees after they've done their jobs. you work, then get paid after a day, or week, or month.

bizgrrl's picture

So true. This is why we need

So true. This is why we need to remove health insurance from employment.

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