U.S Congressman Greg Casar recently went on a food and “thirst strike” for eight hours, for which he was mocked relentlessly online. As many people rightly pointed out, most people go without food and water for this long every 24 hours; it’s called sleeping.
Nevertheless, Casar fasted to make a point—that House Bill 2127, a new Texas law to roll back local government overreach and to promote free markets, would allegedly take away someone’s “right to a water break at work.” But that’s simply not true.
No one’s right to take a water break is going to disappear when HB 2127 takes effect in September. And it’s silly to even suggest so. Ask Texas business owners if they plan to deprive their employees of a drink of water. Or better yet, ask any employee if they plan on sticking with an employer who refuses them such things (especially in a Texas economy with a low unemployment rate of 4.1% and plenty of other jobs available).
Fundamentally, HB 2127 is a matter of liberty. We shouldn’t let municipalities decide every detail about what you do. No one loves a micromanager. That sentiment provides the basis for the new law—let business owners and citizens make the decisions that matter most to them.
But perhaps that’s too simplistic an explanation. The new law, to be technical, preempts municipal legislation in several key fields. Or in other words it stops government from infringing on individual rights by limiting governmental authority. By the way, the U.S constitution does the same thing. In particular, ever notice how the first line of the first amendment begins? “Congress shall make no law…” Even the founders believed in small government (a point that Congressman Casar may want to revisit).
HB 2127 limits local government in economics, agriculture, and several other areas. As Dennis Prager of PragerU once told me, “The larger the state, the smaller the individual.”
Draconian municipal legislation creates a cobweb of city ordinance across the state. It leaves businesses asking basic questions and often paying high costs. Isn’t inflation bad enough? Businesses do best when the rules are the same—an even playing field. Now, that is a bit cliché, but a truism, nonetheless.
Currently, there are already several million regulations on both the state and federal level that dictate the minutiae of every industry. We don’t need more.
Full-time lawmakers, city councilmen, bureaucrats decide for you what’s just and unjust. These arbiters of what economist Thomas Sowell calls “cosmic justice” bear no consequences for their legislation. But the business owner, and the citizen does.
Congressman Casar is right to be concerned about workers and workers’ safety. However, he errs thinking that Big Government is the solution. In the end, it’s personal responsibility and the free market that will let workers thrive.
How do I know?
Because it’s already happened in Texas without government intervention.