Thursday, January 05, 2012

Better Than Gridlock? Right To Flee!

If, as Samuel Clemens wrote (as Mark Twain), "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session," then Indiana's House Democrats are public benefactors: they've found a way to have the legislature in session (more or less) and still protect you from its depredations: They've skedaddled to prevent a quorum once again!

Yes, it's over proposed Right-To-Work laws; the linkage between union leadership and Indiana's Statehouse Democrats is so tight that no matter which one you pinch, they both say "ouch!"

The flight of legislators works out pretty well, really: the media has a nice ongoing story, the state legislature can't get much done, some little motel over in the People's Republic of Illinois gets an unexpected windfall, and a big bunch of hard-working union members get a week or more off work to go wave signs at and sing songs to the Republicans, who will show up every day, seek a quorum, fail and spend the rest of the day like high school students in ill-supervised detention. (Last time this happened, the Dems, perhaps out of some sense of fool-in-office solidarity, rented a meeting room and did very much the same thing at their Out-State Hide-Out; which goes to show that legislators will play at legislating even when it doesn't count). --And you thought they ran for office (as opposed to from it) to represent you? Hah!

We've got dueling ads on the TV (and probably in the papers). Of course nobody cites sources; the antis tell us RTW states are generally higher in poverty than the national average and the pros asset RTW states are showing more and faster job growth than Indiana. It could be they're both right, as the the two claims don't cancel each other out.

More amusing are the protestors chanting, "No-right-to-work," which, as a lot of the unemployed have found out, is already plenty true. But there's a right to starve -- and the way Indiana has been bleeding jobs (both unionized and not), more and more Hoosiers are finding that out.

I wonder if there's work filling in at the protestors jobs?


Divemedic said...

I can see both sides. Florida, a right to work state, has a high cost of living and low wages.

However, I don't like the idea of government mandated closed shops. I also don't like the idea of outlawing unions, as Wisconsin did.

I don't see a moral difference between corporations and unions: both are organizations formed for the benefit of members, whereupon the members pool their resources to achieve more results collectively than they could as a group of individuals. The AARP, NRA, UAW, and Citigroup all have the same basic goal: maximize the profit of their members by soliciting the government for favor.

You fix this by eliminating the government's ability to grant favor: everything from cushy contracts to corporate personhood.

Roberta X said...

Did Wisconsin "outlaw unions" outright, or only public-employee unions?

The proposed Indiana law would apply to workers in general, and only bars closed shops.

Because they are not self-limiting, public employees are a special case, or at least that's what FDR and I think. If government workers drive wages up too far, the government that employs them doesn't end up having to move offshore or go out of business, it just shakes down taxpayers for more.

Greater privatization and/or funding via user fees might help with that problem. How many government "services" really need to be handled at taxpayer expense?

Divemedic said...

I don't think totally barring public unions ins the answer. I like Florida's model, and think it works well. Employees are free to unionize, and the government will bargain in good faith, but workers are prohibited by law from striking.

I don't see a difference under such a system between a non-striking public employee union and a lobbying group like the AARP or the NRA.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

This is tiring. The Republicans ought to send bounty hunters after the Democrats and drag them back in chains. "Compel their attendance" per the Indiana Constitution.

But that's OK. It won't be an issue after the Republican landslide in November.