A few recent decisions in the city of Madison have left the local business climate a bit too chilly for the season. Over the summer the city council discussed ordinances that would ban smoking in bars, and impose mandatory paid sick leave on businesses in the area. Fortunately, one hasn’t been passed yet, however the smoking ban has. Now “Progressive Dane” is launching a campaign to pass the sick leave ordinance, dubbing the effort “Healthy Families, Healthy City.” The limited government philosophy, which originally spawned states’ rights early in American history, obviously hasn’t found its way into the mindsets of local politicians. With these intrusive regulations, the city of Madison continues to stretch its belt-buckle through its hunger for power.
The city ordinance that has already been passed is the ban on smoking in bars – with no exceptions. At the end of June, the city’s ban took effect throughout Madison, forcing businesses to undergo a transition many customers had trouble adjusting to. No longer will bar-goers be able to enjoy a quick smoke in their favorite establishments. As many new laws spring up around the nation, the choice to smoke in public is being restricted to a minimum. In California, they’ve already taken the fight one step further and banned smoking in ALL public places.
The new “Healthy Families, Healthy City” campaign launched by the city of Madison is just the most recent in the series of interventionist measures from our local government officials. In an effort to “guarantee all workers in Madison paid sick days,” the initiative infringes on a company’s right to govern its employees through its own policies. It takes away private organization’s ability to maintain the productivity of its employees by forcibly granting, in essence, free time off. However justified it may seem, this requirement invariably gives every employee in the city of Madison time to take off, sick or not. While employees should not be dissuaded or prevented from taking time off when sick, they shouldn’t be forced to take time off when not sick, and get paid to do it.
Where will we draw the line between what can be left up to free choice and what must be controlled by the government? If decisions as trivial as these are too much for private citizens to make, then what is to stop governments local or statewide from taking other liberties from us? One of these days a law will be passed that crosses the line between necessary and oppressive, and it will leave us in a place we never thought we would be. It’s time to halt the power grab in government, no matter how small it seems, before we go the way of the Romans.