July 28 2014

Slap in the Face to Unions: Right to Work Michigan Residents See Rise in Income

Charlotte Hays

Unlike most people in the U.S., who are all too aware of stagnant (or worse) wages, residents of Michigan are seeing a slight uptick in income. Michigan’s Capitol Confidential reports:

Michigan’s per-capita personal income increased from $38,291 in 2012 (before right-to-work became law) to $39,215 in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. That increase was the ninth highest in the country.

Per-capita personal income includes income from all sources divided by the number of people in the state. Salaries and wages are a part of per-capita personal income, but it also includes dividends, interest, rent employee benefits and transfer payments like Social Security, unemployment and welfare.

While more than one factor may be in play, Michigan’s becoming a Right to Work state, hailed by Democrats as a slap in the wallet for Michigan workers, is likely the predominant one. Capitol Confidential continues:

 “The dire predictions of right-to-work detractors have not come true — Michigan has been a leader in income growth since passage,” said James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

A study released this week by Richard Vedder, a distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University and an adjunct scholar with the American Enterprise Institute as well as with the Mackinac Center, found that “incomes rise following the passage of RTW laws, even after adjusting for substantial population growth that those laws also induce. RTW states tend to be vibrant and growing; non-RTW states tend to be stagnant and aging.” 

People who hoped that Michigan would become a right to work state were caricatured as hard-hearted and enemies of the workers. We pro-right to work types were seen as toadies to the one percent who positively wanted workers to be exploited by the rapacious plutocrats.

Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker calls the dire predictions regarding Michigan’s going right to work “utter self-serving nonsense from the political party which rakes off union dues as political ‘contributions’ from workers whose paychecks are deducted from by their union bosses.”

Lifson writes:

In fairness, RTW is not the only factor in determining personal income, which includes sources other than wages in its totals. But it makes sense that freeing workers from the compulsion to join a union and fork over part of their paychecks to bosses who spend it on political donations to Democrats raises their incomes. Not to mention that it stimulates entrepreneurs and established companies to expand job opportunities, thereby raising demand for workers, and growing wages.

Another big fail for big labor.  More evidence that unions harm workers.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air writes:

But the workers (and the voters) should be able to take one central theme from this information and other states can take notice of it. The unions have been taking a piece of their wages for decades – sometimes against their will – and applying it to political campaign coffers and advertising campaigns rather than spending it to better the working conditions and lives of the workers. And in exchange for this pound of flesh they received… less pay.

Go forth and prosper.

Like so many policies embraced by President Obama and his party, support for the unions was never about the workers. Nor is the minimum wage hike, which sounds pro-worker and may garner votes but in reality will lead a lot of workers to lose their jobs. Let us hope that voters are learning (the hard way, alas) to distinguish between policies that sound pro-worker and those that really do give workers an opportunity to make their lives better. A thousand dollar increase in incomes is a step in the right direction for working people in Michigan.

 

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