Friday, February 20, 2015

A primer on the lies, deception and truth of (right-to) work-for-less

Given today's headline of the Wisconsin GOP deciding to introduce and ram through (right-to) work-for-less bill, as well as Governor Walker's promise to sign such legislation (proving that his statements on the subject in his governor campaigns were lies), let's review some of my prior posts about how stupid and regressive this idea is.

1. Wisconsin isn't having a problem with high wages restricting job growth, as Wisconsin's wages and wage growth has been lower than most of the Midwest from early 2013 to early 2014. In fact, the only states that were in the same range as Wisconsin's lame 1.2% wage growth in the last year were Michigan and Indiana...who were the two Midwestern states that passed this stupid legislation in the 2 1/2 years.

2. Here's something I wrote last month that went over a study from a Marquette University economist which showed that (right-to) work-for-less would cost Wisconsinites billions of dollars. Take a look at Dr. Abdur Chowdhury's analysis, and you may remember this specific passage.
The potential net loss in direct income to Wisconsin workers and their families due to a RTW legislation is between $3.89 and $4.82 billion annually. Using a conservative estimate of an impact multiplier of 1.5, the total direct and induced loss of a RTW legislation is estimated between $5.84 and $7.23 billion annually. Based upon the two estimates of lost incomes and an overall effective tax rate of 4.0%, the economic loss in state income taxes is estimated between $234 and $289 million per year.

While considerable efforts are being made by certain legislators to pass the RTW law in Wisconsin, the empirical evidence on the effect of adopting such a law does not support prescribing it as an economic policy tool. Overall, this study shows that RTW legislation would provide no discernible economic advantage to Wisconsin, but would impose significant social and economic costs. Low wages would weaken consumption. Higher rates of labor turnover and adversarial labor-­‐management relations would decrease productivity. It would also burden the state with higher ‘mop-­up’ costs [costs for social programs such as child care and food stamps].
That same post also includes a similar analysis from Bruce Thompson in Urban Milwaukee, which shows that states that don't have this stupid legislation have higher incomes than states who do, and a lot of those allegedly booming "right-to-work" states are places like North Dakota and Texas that were seeing benefits from the oil boom. A boom that has now busted.

3. And here's a post that debunks a set of lies from the Oligarch and Mediocre Businessmen's Club Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. One of the biggest lies from these folks is the claim that Michigan and Indiana have done better since instituting work-for-less (if anything, job growth slowed down since putting these laws on the books), as well as WMC's bad habit of wanting to shift taxes and costs onto the little people and use big government at the state level to override local interests.

Lastly, the timing of this is VERY interesting, as the national media has caught on to Gov Walker's Administration trying to fill this year's budget hole by skipping $108 million in debt payments and putting them off into future budgets, and January revenue figures due to come out in the next week will likely show the budget gap to be even worse (Assembly Dem Leader Peter Barca and Joint Finance member Gordon Hintz were all over this today). It's also worth mentioning that this work-for-less news is breaking 2 days after Walker spent time at the elite 21 Club in New York City to "pledge allegiance to charlatans and cranks" that have been wrong about the economy for the last 35 years. There aren't many coincidences with these guys in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan, and giving the go-ahead to this idiotic, divisive bill would be a classic misdirection move, as well as a nice kiss-up to big-money oligarchs for the Walker 2016 campaign.

As for how to fight it, first of all, we have to give as many facts as possible and go on the attack against WMC, AM 620/1130, and other GOP-agandists who will lie about the "freedom" to get screwed over at work. I also think there should be active, vocal opposition to this, and if it means tens or hundreds of thousands walk off the job to come to the Capitol, I say DO IT. We need to send the message that this guy's agenda is not accepted and is not working, because the hidden subtext for Walker 2016 is that "I can impose every right-wing dream on people, and eventually they sit back and accept it, giving us more power." I'd also suggest cutbacks in every other type of personal spending, to wreck the budget even further, and give real economic damage to any organization that backs this regressive BS (the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is a great source here).

I just feel bad that I'll be on vacation and have to miss all the fireworks next week (well, as bad as trading 10-degree weather for 80 degrees can be, anyway).

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