Once more, we go to the Orwellian aspects of the legislation called "Right to Work" ("RTW"). Who would be so left-wing in their radicalism as to assert that a human eing has a right to work in her/his job? Oh, that’s right—the same folks who are so protective of Indiana’s status as an at-will employment State. "At-will" means an employer can fire a worker—and Mitt Romney has said he loves firing people—for anything, except, generally, reasons based on race, gender, religion, disabilities, or age. If an employer does not like the fact a worker wears blue, Oxford shirts in that worker’s time away from the job, the employer can issue a pink slip. (I’m sorry, that was another Romneyism.)
So let’s get back to the RTW debate. We should venture back a few years, to the early days of the Mitch Daniels administration. 2005—W was president, the Pacers had begun their spiral after the Malice at the Palace, the Colts toyed with the idea of Super Bowl. The times were good for waste of taxpayers’ money. I have to make a slight correction, it was the early day of the Daniels Administration, when, by executive order, he eliminated collective bargaining for Indiana’s state government employees. There is a theme to the RTW effort. Daniels’s action on 01/01/05 reflects that theme. Reduce workers’ rights and wages. That reduces overhead and the taxpayers benefits.
Other States have had RTW laws, though. What have been their experiences? Certainly, one would think, studies have been conducted of the effects of RTW on those states’ economies.
First, understand the prime message that is pushed in the argument "for" RTW. RTW makes Indiana more attractive for businesses to re-locate here. The attraction is that businesses save money with RTW. What is the source of those savings?
Workers constitute the source of those savings.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation has ballyhooed a study conducted by Vedder, Denhart, and Robe that concludes RTW attracts businesses that in turn leads to economic growth that in turn leads to higher wages. If that reasoning seems labored (pun intended), one might recall similar analyses in regard to lowering taxes for the rich—"trickle-down" economics. Trickle-down worked—for the top economic percentiles of the nation’s economy. Folks within that tier made out like bandits—some literally. The money trickled down most noticeably when they invested in corporations overseas where wages are low, there are few or no workers’ rights, and everyone in the top percentile can be happy.
I will add to this blog on Thursday. In the meantime, 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—was it a Pelikan? Maybe a Mont Blanc?—ended collective bargaining for Indiana public employees on that first day in office in 2005. Geez, at least Governor Scott Walker had to go through the Wisconsin legislature to try and strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.
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.