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A Look at Old Cases and New Laws Affecting Job Growth

April 16, 2012 by Amity Shlaes

Four years after the financial crisis, new jobs still aren’t materializingsufficiently. What’s more, the Supreme Court recently signaled it might find Obama’s principal achievement, health-care legislation, unconstitutional. In the 1890s, the state of New York passed a Bakeshop Act, limiting hours to 10 a day and 60 a week. Joseph Lochner regarded this law as an intrusion that inhibited his efforts at commerce. Lochner won in the U.S. Supreme Court. New York State did not have the right to interfere in private contracts, the court said. In Wickard v. Filburn, the court said even wheat consumed by a farmer on his own farm could be regulated; in National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., it found a heavy-handed labor law, the Wagner Act, constitutional. Federal lawmakers have since felt confident writing other regulations. None of these laws sounds bad. But the cumulative effect of such laws is to inhibit the freedom of the employer enough that he or she hesitates to rehire. The full text posted on Bloomberg.com here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-11/obama-is-right-on-labor-s-past-wrong-on-jobs.html This post was written by Amity Shlaes, Director of the 4% Growth Project at the George W. Bush Institute. Find her on Twitter @AmityShlaes