Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Right to Work at wages being lowered to those of workers in Vietnam.

   Here are few things to know about the Right to Work ("RTW") legislation, the vote in the Indiana General Assembly for which has been held off for several days (before the inevitable, it would seem, passage):

   1) Compulsory union membership is not an issue.

   NLRB v. GM, 373 U.S. 734 (1963) held that people cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. However, employees can be compelled to pay toward the costs of negotiations on wages and benefits. Employees cannot be compelled to pay dues.

   2) Workers do not benefit from this legislation.

   First, as I explained in a previous blog, the argument that RTW benefits workers operates on the same premises as any other aspect of "trickle-down" economics. Somehow, because businesses are given breaks, the rest of us will benefit. In RTW, businesses get breaks and, somehow, workers will receive higher. That makes no sense. If the dynamic of RTW is to give businesses the opportunity to hire workers for lower wages, why would wages ever increase? Second, a study by the Economic Policy Institute indicates wages in RTW states are 3.2% lower than in non-RTW states. The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance is 2.6% lower. The rate of employer-sponsored pensions is 4.8% lower.

   3) Paul Ogden’s accusation yesterday that I rambled by including Vietnam and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., in a discussion of RTW is incorrect.

   Vietnam is relevant to the subject because the corporations that now thrive under Citizens United-borne election rules would love for American workers to subsist on the same incomes as the workers in Vietnam. Manufacturing jobs are going to countries like Vietnam where wages are low, rights are few, and defective goods are manufactured for a cheap price.

   Vonnegut wrote Player Piano, in which the need for people in the workplace has been taken by machines. The wealthy top few percent—okay, let’s say one percent to keep it current—thrive while the masses are employed as street sweepers, grounds keepers, and other occupations that require few skills and provide little income.

   One local commentator says he is comfortable with RTW and that most people in Indiana have been shown, by a Ball State poll, not to care about RTW. I am glad that he is comfortable with RTW. I am happy for him. That a large percentage of Hoosier do not care about RTW does not surprise me. A lot of people are too busy working to survive to receive much information about the laws now before the General Assembly.

  Once more, I would remind the reader that next Saturday’s Show will discuss the RTW legislation before the General Assembly. We also will discuss the effect of the end of collective bargaining rights for Indiana public employees since Governor Daniels with the stroke of a pen ended collective bargaining for Indiana public employees on his first day in office in 2005. How could he do that when Governor Scott Walker had to go through the Wisconsin legislature to try to do the same? Governor Evan Bayh enabled the Governor of Indiana to do just that.

   The Show is at Big Hat Books, 6510 Cornell in Broad Ripple, directly across from the Monon Trail and just north of 65th Street. We start at 11 a.m. Come and be a part of the audience. We will announce or guest panelists.

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Comment by Kurt Lorey on January 14, 2012 at 12:33pm

Oh I see. English law concerning property is what you want. There's a solution  for you right there.

Just some pointed retorts.


1) That Adams reference was irrevelant.


2) Yes, I (me) am not an expert on Madison. But, I'm pretty darn sure that the experts don't believe what you do. Otherwise, it would be easier to find academic discussions about it. Crickets. That is why I am dismissive of your point of view here. It a fringe view.


3) As to your insinuation that I'm ignorant, I have an answer for you.

I'm done attempting to persuade you. Why? Because it is clear you are a dogmatist. In effect, unpersuadable, no matter whether your position is correct or incorrect. You are not interested in actually having a dialogue with others, you simply wish them to validate your own opinions, and will attempt to out-yell them until they acquiesce or go away.

You are like a person who is color blind that has cherry-picked a line from some 18th century scientist which you interpret to mean that he believed that the sky was pink. You feel that this is true because this scientist has a wonderful reputation amongst scientists today, and you like the idea that the sky be pink. But, no other scientist today seems to talk about the sky being pink. Still, you must assume that this is because a pink sky is a self-evident fact, even though you yourself cannot ever test this hypothesis, because you are color blind. You determine to ask a friend about the sky and do so early one clear morning as you both leave for work. Since it is just before sunrise, the sky is ablaze with a riot of colors in the east, including pink. You happen to point towards the east while asking your friend if the sky is pink. Your friend is still sleepy, and frankly doesn't care all that much about the sky, and since one of the colors in the sky is pink, he agrees and says "yes, the sky is pink". Your testing days are over! Confirmation has been achieved. You KNEW it, the sky is pink, even though you only asked one person during one particular moment of a day. Afterwards, you proclaim to all and sundry that the pink sky is just the way you always dreamed it would be. Most people ignore you, as they don't really care about the sky as much as they do just getting through the day. The schoolmaster did look at you oddly, but he's an just an over-educated buffoon in your opinion, so his looks don't matter to you. Is the sky pink? Of course not, but no one would be able to persuade you differently ever again, no matter what proof they presented,including that you were part of a distinct minority of people who actually believed that the sky was pink.
So, I'm done here.

Comment by Kurt Lorey on January 13, 2012 at 1:43pm

You use the words "justly" and "free" quite loosely. But, what you mean is that the "haves" are "free" to use what power (property) they have to intimidate and abuse those who have not. In that sense, I'll take my subjective views of "fairness" anytime, any day. I know what is "fair" and what isn't. You are just cherry picking in order to rationalize you own personal weltanschauung. You apparently cherry pick Madison, you cherry pick "property owners" over "government", you cherry pick as to what is valid and what is ridiculous in the abstract. How do you know whether my sense of "fairness" is subjective, or not? You don't. You don't agree, so you're assuming. And what usually happens when one assumes?


Last episode, you argued that the Cuyahoga river pollution was a function of lack of property rights. If some entity or personage "owned" the river, it would never have been polluted. Balderdaash. That is completely false as a concept. How might one set about to acquire the "property rights" to a river like the Cuyahoga?  Law of the jungle? First European white man to find it, gets it? Fight each other, and let the "best" man win? In that case, I have a bill of sale for the global atmosphere and you're stealing from me plus degrading my property at the same time. Don't agree? Prove me wrong in court. In the meantime, please initiate immediate bank transfers to cover your theft of oxygen from and disposal of airborne carbon dioxide molecules into my property.


I am not an expert on Madison, but I will read up on him (as soon as I get through some stuff I promised Mark I would finish first). But, I think that "libertarians" do not understand the words, the context or the intent of most anything the Founding Fathers wrote. True, I'm assuming, but my analysis of the critical thinking/reading/comprehension skills of most people leads me to believe that statistically speaking, my assumption is the correct conlcusion.


And, it is NOT illegal for you to sell your labor for $1. Anytime you want, I will hire you for $1 to mow my lawn, shovel my driveway, detail my car, paint my house, or any number of other labors. Somehow, I just don't think you'll back up all your $1 talk with any concrete actions. Your abstract arguments continue to fall flat on their face without any evidence that for all your talk, you really have no intention of walking the walk.

Comment by Kurt Lorey on January 13, 2012 at 9:40am

My concept is based upon "fairness" meaning impartiality. To cherry pick from Madison,

"Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."

You are (falsely) assuming that there is no imbalance in the power where "property" is concerned. Perhaps it isn't in your case, but that isn't true for the majority of others. Madison did not believe as you seem to that government is bad, per se, but just that government should be used "sparingly". I believe that denying RTW is a "sparing" use of the power of government.


If you want to go out and sell your labor (property) for $1, feel free. But, please don't expect to impose that standard unwillingly upon others (which is exactly what you are suggesting). If I feel that my labor is worth $5, but the factory owner (who is making a lot that $5 off of the labor of others, btw) only wants to pay me $1, don't you understand that I might  feel that I'm being treated unfairly? Sure, he "owns" the property that is the factory, but did he earn that "property"? In many, many, many cases - the answer is a resounding "NO!". There is no level playing field here. No impartiality on the part of the property owner you wish to support. I'm not suggesting that such a person has no "right" to profit form my labor, but I wish to draw a line in the sand where such profit becomes excessive, unfair, and cruel. Where exactly is it written that one person's "property" rights exceeds another? Does this derive perhaps from another type of economic system? While the government is expected to protect the rights of those who desire laws like RTW, where is the same sort of desire to protect those whose "property values" would decline under a RTW system? Where is the same flag-waving for that, I ask you?

Comment by Kurt Lorey on January 13, 2012 at 6:19am

Considering your perspective on RTW, I believe you have the 1840 roles reversed. I had thought of that as an example, but discarded it as to not offend you. I see that perhaps I need not have worried. ;)


Still, you neglect to rebut that I find your argument less than compelling.

Comment by Kurt Lorey on January 12, 2012 at 3:14pm

Nicholas, you have taken your argument in a single direction, reducing your proposition to its most absurd level. Abstraction cannot be so reduced without losing any validity for critical consideration.


OK. Say you will work for $1/hour. Let me assume an absurdity of my own and say that there are no taxes taken from that amount. Forty hours later, what have you got? $40. Perhaps that's Ok for you, but perhaps your family isn't so pragmatic about your wage position. What does $40 even buy anymore. Even for a minimalist, not much. Not so bad when you're fourteen, I guess. No debt, no mortgage, somebody else feeding and clothing you. Hmmm.


And your example of non-profit workers? Pretty sure they have alternate sources of income. Pensions, Social Security, spouse's salary. Come on now. You're starting to sound like Mark. rofl





Comment by Kurt Lorey on January 12, 2012 at 12:39pm

I'll give that comment credence when you prove to me that you are actually making $1 an hour for your work. Otherwise, that is simply a preposterous proposition.


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