I hate the labels politicians slap on hot-button issues to make them more palatable, because it’s propaganda of the most base kind, and I hate even more that such painfully obvious maneuvers are done mostly because they work. ‘Pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice,’ for instance, instead of ‘pro-abortion rights’ and ‘anti-abortion rights.’ ‘Sanctity of marriage,’ instead of ‘anti-gay marriage.’ Each label is bathed in assumptions about the in-defensibility of its opposite.
Among these is ‘right-to-work,’ as opposed to, I suppose ‘forced-unionism.’ At least, as far as libertarians wish they were called. There was a Daily Show rerun on with Ron Paul espousing the “strength” of the Southern economy thanks to its right-to-work laws, backed up by such statistical mindfucks as the fact that the South has gained jobs and its average wages have risen faster than the North. The only problem is… the South had fewer jobs and a much lower wage rate to begin with. It has more to gain. As pointed out in my last blog, average wages nationwide have gone down and national job growth has been anemic for a decade. This sort of business tomfoolery has been instrumental in depressing wages in this country overall, much like casinos only work when there’s a larger neighboring economy to mooch off of.
But most of all, I’m sick of the freakin’ label. ‘Right-to-work’ just means that workers that receive benefits from collective work bargains don’t have to pay into the unions who got them those benefits. Here’s the thing: Does anybody really give a shit about the piddling union dues? I have lots of stuff taken out of my paycheck – or did, at any rate – and union dues were one of the smallest parts of it. I can’t imagine that workers are fighting so hard to get rid of that charge. I can see why businesses would want to get rid of them – because they starve unions – but, honestly, what in the fuck?
See, here’s the thing: If my job sucks and pays shit and all that, and I’m pissed off that I’m paying $22 every paycheck for the union, my preferred solution is not that I stop paying $22 every paycheck. My preferred solution is that the union do something to stop my job from sucking and paying shit. This sort of proposed solution in right-to-work is the exact opposite of rational sense. I want better unions, not dead unions. And that’s the crux of the issue: This ‘right-to-work’ premise was invented not by workers, but by businesses, who do not have workers’ best interests in mind.
But, then, I’m one of those guys who thinks the only social worth of private business in this country is to provide the highest living standards possible for the most people possible. Y’know, the latter half of that Henry Ford quote. Instead, we seem to be getting Alabama as an ersatz Mexico of the North.