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Federal Senate Bill S.418 aims to introduce stricter regulations on small businesses in the name of consumer protection. Proponents argue that these regulations will ensure product safety and fair business practices, thereby benefiting consumers.
What it actually does is make it harder for employers to hire and individuals to get hired.
We believe that individuals should be free to engage in voluntary transactions without unnecessary government interference. Bill S.418, however, introduces additional bureaucratic hurdles and red tape, imposing burdensome regulations on small businesses. These hurdles extend the length of time it takes to select and confirm a candidate, thus leaving employers with an even-longer ramp-up time in critical staffing shortages. This restricts the freedom of entrepreneurs to run their businesses as they see fit.
It is the libertarian position that market forces, such as supply and demand, will naturally steer businesses towards meeting consumer preferences. Preferences like hiring reliable, available laborers to meet customer needs in everything from drywalling to call centers to fast food to road construction. Bill S.418 undermines the natural order of markets by imposing top-down regulations that may not align with market realities, stifling entrepreneurship and hindering market efficiency.
When the government intervenes in the marketplace, unintended consequences arise. Bill S.418 will most assuredly create a barrier to entry for small businesses, who are the lifeblood of South Carolina’s and the US economy. Compliance costs and regulatory burdens will disproportionately affect these smaller players, preventing them from entering the market to bring competition.
In a truly free market, businesses must compete to earn consumers’ trust and loyalty. This includes big businesses that can afford compliance with senseless regulations like bill S.418. However, those businesses see compliance as a strategic advantage, allowing them to deliver lower quality products and engage in dishonest practices without facing consequences—such as loss of customers and reputation damage—because their competitors have been eliminated by unnecessary compliance.
Finally, S.418 includes a clause that requires employees render documentation compliant with the REAL ID Act of 2015, a mandate that South Carolina has so far, managed to keep voluntary. This coercion to federal standards is despicable and not in the best interests of free citizens.
There are likely as many as 90,000 undocumented workers in South Carolina. They’re paying taxes through property tax, alcohol/tobacco tax, sales tax, withholding which does not result in refunds, and in many cases working toward citizenship. Yet they are unrepresented in government because they are unable to vote. Bills like S.418 are a direct attack on individuals unable to advocate for themselves in our political system.