Carey Roberts
New abuse bill will have employers paying through the nose
By Carey Roberts
February 9, 2009

Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard of California and Ted Poe of Texas have recently introduced their own version of the economic stimulus plan. The money will go straight into the pockets of working Americans, and it won't cost taxpayers a dime.

Want to hear more?

Frustrated over the endless haggling over the stimulus package, Roybal-Allard and Poe decided to introduce their own bill: H.R. 739, the Security and Financial Empowerment Act — SAFE for short.

Under the SAFE bill, employees will have an iron-clad guarantee of lifelong job security, health insurance, as well as 30 days emergency leave each year. Former workers are of course entitled to unemployment bennies.

And the only requirement is the employee has to be a victim of abuse. That's a small hurdle to overcome, though, because the bill generously defines abuse to include physical violence, psychological trauma, and that wonderful catch-all category, "emotional distress."

I know exactly what Ms. Roybal-Allard and Mr. Poe have in mind. Whenever the stock market dances through one of its 100-point gyrations, I experience substantial emotional distress. And whenever my lovely wife steps on the scales, she too may feel distress.

As you can see, we have an Epidemic of Abuse on our hands. It's right up there with cancer-causing breast implants and Red Dye No. 2.

To qualify, the claimant needs to become certified. She can plead her case in front of a judge. (In many states, procuring a restraining order is easier than getting a fishing license.) Or if that doesn't work, she can just sign a sworn statement.

I know, all this sounds fantastic, I must be making this up. So see for yourself:

The eligibility criteria for health insurance benefits are more liberal than anything you've seen before. As explained in Section 403 of the bill, no health insurer may deny or cancel a policy against any person who "is, has been, or may be the subject of abuse."

Hmmm. "Is, has been, or may be the subject of abuse" — can you think of a single person in the universe who can't wiggle into that definition?

And it's not just the woman (or man) who claims to have been abused, it's also any person "with whom the applicant or insured is known to have a relationship or association," according to the bill. So friends, relatives, maybe even pets — all will qualify under these sweeping eligibility criteria.

So President Obama, no need to fret about that campaign promise of universal health care. Representatives Roybal-Allard and Poe have got you covered!

Employers should not discount how widespread dubious claims of abuse have become. Two weeks ago Londoners were buzzing over the BBC personality who accused her ex-boyfriend of rape — 40 times over a two and a half year period. When investigators called her claims "inconsistent" and "not credible," the well-known broadcaster retracted the scurillous charge.

In the United States, professor Benjamin Foster published a report in Cost Management journal showing 71% of abuse claims are either unnecessary or simply false. Now police departments are becoming bogged down with bogus crime reports. Recently the Dallas Police Department changed its policy to demand alleged victims provide a detailed account before classifying the incident as a crime.

The bill's state-mandated redistribution of wealth will no doubt cost billions of dollars each year.

Here are the numbers: Each year one in 10 couples engage in some type of violence such as a slap, kick, or thrown object. (Studies show women are just as likely as men to throw the first punch, but men are far less likely to call the cops. So we'll take men out of the equation for sake of simplicity.) If you add in garden-variety lovers' quarrels, you're looking at much bigger numbers.

So each year 10% of your female employees can qualify as a victim of abuse — and that doesn't include the "emotional distress" claims. Multiply their salaries by, say, 10 years. Then add in costs for health insurance and emergency leave.

Crank through the numbers — it's a staggering amount. Billions of dollars in unfunded employee liabilities — and that may turn out to be an underestimate.

But Ms. Roybal-Allard wants you to believe her bill will do wonders for the bottom line! In her January 28 press release, she makes the Orwellian claim the measure will "help employers retain good employees and avoid recruiting and training costs associated with domestic violence."

Let's call it a big step in the Long March toward the socialization of the American workplace.

© Carey Roberts


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Carey Roberts

Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His best-known work was an exposé on Marxism and radical feminism... (more)

More by this author