Maybe I'm the only one, but my impression from everything that's been said and written about Governor Mitch Daniels (R) of Indiana from the time he was George W. Bush's OMB Director has always been that of a steel-spined budgetary genius with mad cost-benefit analyzing skillz.
So, one could imagine my surprise when I read this;
INDIANAPOLIS | Bills filed in the Indiana House that would ban workers from being required to pay union dues could spark a debate so divisive that Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels wants to avoid the issue.
The so-called right-to-work legislation has been filed by Republicans who gained a House majority in the November election.
I must say I'm baffled at this.
Why would Daniels want to "avoid" the issue? I'm no professional political operative where Indiana is concerned but I really cannot see how making Indiana a Right-to-Work state (and abolishing public sector unions while they're at it) could be anything other than a philosophical, policy and political win-win-win.
- Philosophically; there is no reason why anyone should be compelled to pay money to any organization out of his hard-earned wages as a condition of his earning a living. When the state is involved, this is violation of the 1st Amendment's guarantee of the individual's freedom of association. As Thomas Jefferson puts it;
That man should be compelled to pay taxes (contributions of money) for the propagation of beliefs he finds abhorrent is a sin as well as tyranny.
- Policy-wise; Right-to-Work states are doing better by almost every key economic indicator. The clearest illustration of this is in the census; the fact that states where workers are forced to fork over hundreds and even thousands of dollars as a condition of employment are losing their workers (and Representatives in Congress) hand over fist to states where workers' freedom of association is respected. Per - appropriately - Inside Indiana Business;
The American Legislative Exchange Council recently published research completed by the National Institute for Labor Relations which provides five different forms of tangible information regarding the economic differences between right to work and non-right to work states. The research completed was based upon statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Census Bureau, United States Patent and Research Office and Bureau of Economic Analysis.
... right to work states create more private sector jobs, enjoy lower poverty rates, experience more technology development, realize more personal income growth, and increase the number of people covered by employment-based private health insurance. These facts provide public policy thought leaders with compelling information regarding the importance of being a right to work state ... It is important for state-level policy makers to remove any barriers to economic growth in their state. A non-right to work state changing to a right to work state is an excellent example of how leaders can improve a state’s outlook. Elected officials in non-right to work states should seriously examine this issue and consider the potential benefits to their citizens.
More economic growth, more employment, lower poverty, more freedom ... Really, what's not to like?
- Politically; Do the political benefits of de-fanging an implacable enemy (any Republican who thinks there can be anything between unions and the GOP other than a sincere desire of the former to utterly destroy the latter must be an idiot) really need to be spelled out? The instant the bill is signed, unions in Indiana are immediately (and very likely, permanently) put on the back foot - they're going to start hemorrhaging members, which means they're going to start hemorrhaging money; the money they use to attack Republicans, the money they use to organize and put boots on the ground to elect Democrats and push Far Left liberal causes their unwilling members object to. Simple and short, they'll be made wonderfully impotent.
So, I ask, with a 60-40 Republican majority (quorum, unfortunately, is 67) in the Indiana State House and a 36-14 super-majority in the State Senate, what's the downside to Daniels making this one of his more pressing priorities?
The only downside I can see is that a newspaper would call him "divisive", append "controversial" to his name and decry his horrible lack of "reach-across-the-aisle" skillz. And, oh yeah - cause some discomfort for David Frum at the next "No Labels" meeting in George Soros' penthouse.