The two most interesting facts about President Obama's Labor Day executive order that employees of federal contractors will have mandatory paid sick leave:  the White House admits it has no idea the number of people who  actually be affected by the executive order; nor does the White House have the foggiest what will be the costs of the latest executive order. But other than that . . .

In other words, the President's words at a Labor Day gathering were pure posturing.

People who work for federal contractors are entitled to, under the order, a minimum of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours they work. Over a year, that could go up to seven days. It goes into effect contracts that begin in 2017, after President Obama is a private citizen.

The reason the White House doesn't know how many people will be affected by this executive order is it doesn't know how many people already have paid leave.  

Since federal contractors tend to do well and want to hire good workers, we can assume that any workers have paid leave. But–like the White House–we have no statistics on this. This is mostly rhetoric designed to make Republicans look cruel and Democrats look not-cruel. The president would like to make this mandatory for all workers.

This is political posturing and in part an effort to win back labor unions who don't like President Obama's trade policy. Unfortunately, it would harm the American worker, who faces the sad reality that in order to use paid leave, you gotta have a job.   The Associated Press reports:

Business groups said Obama’s order would make it harder for small businesses to retain federal contractors and could hinder economic growth.

“Once again President Obama is using the federal procurement system to do something it was never been designed to do: usurp the legislative authority of Congress to determine appropriate workplace policies,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce.

The White House wouldn’t specify the cost to federal contractors to implement the executive order. The Labor Department said any costs would be offset by savings that contractors would see as a result of lower attrition rates and increased worker loyalty, but produced nothing to back that up.

Then again, since the White House doesn't actually know the costs, we must take the Labor Department's pronouncements on any offset to costs with a grain of salt. They don't know.

What we do know is that, if these rules If these rules help business, they'll likely institute themselves, without a shove from Obama and without the president's vitriol about the insensitivity of his political opponents.

And, indeed, many businesses have instituted such policies, sometimes more generous and flexible than the executive order.

Those businesses that haven't are likely to be struggling enterprises that have to treat just staying afloat as their main object. But the unions ate up the rhetoric, and I imagine that is the main purpose of the president's announcement anyway.