Poached Goose Eggs

Granholm's record and the case for right-to-work

Over on the Buckeye Institute's blog, Matt Mayer argues that the failure of former Govs. Ted Strickland (of Ohio) and our own Jennifer Granholm to attract jobs to their states bolsters the case for right-to-work laws.

Mayer pointed to an article in Sunday's Columbus Dispatch about the pointlessness of so many state government led economic development programs, which seek to "poach" companies and jobs from neighboring states. Mayer argues that the failure of all this gamesmanship — and Granholm was a pretty big player — only highlights the need for more fundamental reforms, such as state right-to-work laws that make union membership and financial support voluntary.

The record of right-to-work states is pretty clear: voluntary unionism creates economic growth, rising incomes, and jobs, something that just can't be said for Granholm's preferred tactic of using targeted tax subsidies to coax companies into Michigan.

Across the Great Lakes states, public policy has largely become an exercise in cleaning up the messes that the unions have made. Over the last few months, lawmakers in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan have all been forced to confront labor unions over the cost of collectively bargained benefits.

During her term in office, Granholm only made things worse, especially with her absurd decision to force independent home-based child care workers into unions. Her protests to the contrary, Granholm was actually a pretty reliable tax-hiker. And as much as she might have claimed to have been a spending-cutter, government employee compensation continued to rise beyond what was affordable, and labor union payoffs like the state’s prevailing wage law were not open to debate.

Granholm may wish to ignore the whole subject of labor relations in order to avoid creating embarrassment for one of her chief political patrons, but union recklessness — the Michigan Education Association is contemplating statewide strikes to protest Michigan’s relatively mild reforms — is bound to keep labor in the spotlight anyway. Michiganders in particular are liable have plenty of opportunities to contemplate union power and the abuse thereof over the next few months, and in the wake of that, interest in right-to-work is very likely to grow.