THE BLOG
03/14/2014 05:53 pm ET Updated May 14, 2014

Is it Good for America to Only do What's Good for Business?

Opponents to President Obama's efforts to put millions of dollars in the pockets of people who've been working overtime for no pay want you to worry about business again.

Conservative business groups have responded with all-too-familiar claims of the harm Obama's plan will bring to their members. House Speaker John Boehner had this to say:

"The president's policies are making it difficult for employers to expand employment. And until the president's policies get out of the way, employers are going to continue to sit on their hands."

Here, just so we know what paying attention to such nonsense would mean for America, is a short list of actions and laws that would not have succeeded if what's supposedly good for business were the primary concern at the time they went into effect:

Emancipation Proclamation - made the eradication of slavery an important war goal, freeing millions of slaves without compensating their owners;

Fair Labor Standards Act - restricted the employment and abuse of child workers;

Title IX - established that no person in the U.S. can be excluded, on the basis of sex, from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance;

Americans with Disabilities Act - prohibited discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications;

Antitrust laws - prohibited business activities that federal government regulators deem to be anticompetitive

Minimum wage (FLSA and state laws) - set the lowest wage allowed by law

Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act - regulated the discharge of pollutants

It's time to stop listening to endless repetition of the narrow-minded view that rules and laws should not be changed if they pose even a whiff of difficulty for business. More often than not, it's a bogus argument and a selfish one at that. American businesses that inflexible are soon out of business anyway, and we're all the better for it.

Kathleen also blogs here.

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