Legislation to mandate equal pay is a bad idea.

Popular culture often represents King Canute as a foolish monarch who ordered his aides to place his chair by the ocean’s edge and then arrogantly commanded the tide to stop.  Of course, he got his feet wet.

In fact, Canute, who was one of the great kings of England (and Norway, Sweden, and Denmark) was much wiser than this fable. He wished to show his subjects that he had limited powers.  After soaking his feet, he remarked to the assembled on-lookers – “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth and sea obey.” Reportedly he also hung his crown on a crucifix pounded in the sand and never wore it again as a sign of his humility.

Many politicians seem intent on repeating foolishness by proposing legislation that is, at best bound to fail or worse, do harm. They will get their feet wet.

 

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