Your Right to Earn a Living


July 26, 2017 1:28PM

Is there anything you wouldn’t do for your family? Of course not- family is always one of the most valued aspects of a person’s life. Wouldn’t you consider the right to provide for them fundamental? Even if you’ve never thought about it, haven’t you ordered your life in such a way that enables you to do this very thing? Think about the career you’ve pursued, job training you’ve sought to move up in life, or how you’ve made decisions about where to live. How do you spend most of your days? How do you order your finances? If you analyze these choices you are bound to agree: one of the most important things in your life is supporting your family. 

However, your government officials disagree. They do not think the right to earn a living is a fundamental right. This governmental ideology was directly shown in a recent legal filing. The case had to do with the plight of Maxmiliano Gluzman (previously written about here ) an imminently qualified Vanderbilt law graduate who simply asked for the ability to take the bar exam like everyone else. In defending their decision to deny him even this chance, government lawyers objected to the characterization of the right to work as fundamental. Our rights – this one, especially – ought to be protected to the fullest by the people who hold the public trust, not undermined.

Lawmakers, fortunately, are on the right track. The Right to Earn a Living Act, passed in 2016, was an encouraging step in the right direction. Its findings specified, “the right of individuals to pursue a chosen business or profession, free from arbitrary or excessive government interference is a fundamental civil right.” What does this mean? It means that we should ensure that regulations of entry into careers are “demonstrably necessary” and “narrowly tailored” – meaning no more intrusive than necessary – to protecting the public. Well said.

Although, well done is better than well said. While this is a good first step, it’s not nearly enough. We need to make this vision a reality. Saying that Mr. Gluzman, or any Tennessean’s, right to provide for their family is fundamental shouldn’t be a point of contention. We should all look forward to a day where no Tennessean is ever told that the right to earn a living for their family is not a fundamental right, and that something so innate to one’s self as having a career and making a living, is not important.