fresh voices from the front lines of change







In a Sunday op-ed Arthur Laffer provides one of the funniest lines of the week, “Right-to-work laws provide individual workers with greater freedom to negotiate the terms of their employment.” I almost spat out my coffee, thinking about what would happen to the worker who goes alone to management, demanding a raise and more vacation time. It’s like you or me asking the cable company to show up at 10:30 sharp, and to take those added “fees” off my bill right now!

Arther Laffer, in an op-ed today titled in the paper (but not online), State’s fix: Cut tax rate, enact right-to-work law, gives us the old “make us more business-friendly” argument. Apparently if we become more like China — China is very “business-friendly” — and give business owners everything they want, the businesses will move to put-name-of-state-here. (Except, WE won’t benefit because the environment will suffer, we won’t have a say, and a few at the top end up with everything.)

Over a period of decades, legislators have created a tax and regulatory climate hostile to business — and all but guaranteed that the Golden State will not be the sort of place where productive and growing companies set up shop.

… Low taxes aren’t the only way to attract and retain businesses. Implementing a right-to-work law, which prohibits workers from being fired for not paying union dues, is another way to guarantee outsize economic growth.

Right-to-work laws provide individual workers with greater freedom to negotiate the terms of their employment, and they create an environment where companies can avoid obstructive union rules.

My local newspaper, like most, regularly feeds its readers these right-wing “you should work for less so the rich can be even richer” and “if you tax the rich you won’t have jobs” op-eds. They also feed readers a steady diet of “public employees make too much money and shouldn’t get pensions.” Since the alternative viewpoint is almost never presented, people over time come to accept it.

Oh, Laffer also says we need to lower taxes as a way to solve the state’s deficit crisis. Heh.

(*A “right-to-work” law out to be named a “law-that-lowers-your-pay” because it weakens unions, keeps them from collecting dues, and other restrictions. Several southern states have used these laws to break up unions and now Republicans in several other states are passing them. The result of the decline of unions has been a decline of wages and benefits, and the hollowing-out of the middle class.)

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