Tuesday, December 9, 2014

WMC boss flat-out lying about agenda, reality

I see that the head of Wisconsin Oligarchs and Medicore Businessmen Manufacturers and Commerce is trying to tilt the field even more in his boys’ (and I do mean boys’) favor. Check out this story from WisPolitics yesterday relating to a column written by WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer. Naturally Bauer wants the WisGOP Legislature to pass wage-lowering right-to-work bills, and uses the types of dishonest assertions and flat-out lies that we’ve come to associate from WMC.
"Beyond the personal freedom component to this debate is the economic development argument," Bauer wrote. "It is well-known that site selectors who decide where businesses expand or relocate shun closed shop states like Wisconsin in favor of Right to Work states like Iowa, Indiana and Michigan."
First of all, there is no “closed shop” where prior union membership is required to be considered for employment in Wisconsin, nor anywhere else in America. The Taft-Hartley Act banned this arrangement in 1947. Taft-Hartley is also the reason right-to-work-for-less laws even exist, because it allowed states to pass laws which allow people to opt out of joining unions on the job, while still benefitting from the benefits that union power offers (and you thought righties were against freeloaders? HAH!). But of course, Bauer thinks the average person is too lazy and/or stupid to know these facts.

Second of all, Michigan, Indiana and Iowa have done no different in adding jobs compared to the rest of the Midwest since all three states have been right-to-work-for-less states. Take a look at the state-by-state jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and compare it to the job gains in the Midwestern states for the first 3 years of the Obama Jobs Recovery, which began at the start of this decade, and goes until the end of 2012, when Michigan passed its right-to-work-for-less legislation.

Private sector job growth 2010-2012
Mich +8.37%
Ind. +6.51%
U.S. +5.57%
Ohio +5.55%
Minn +5.43%
Ill. +4.58%
Wis. +4.32%
Iowa +4.28%

The Michigan and Indiana numbers might seem to bear Bauer’s hypothesis out…except that those two states didn’t have right-to-work-for-less on the books in much of this time period (Indiana passed theirs in early 2012 and Michigan at the end of 2012). It’s much more plausible to assume the growth had more to do with the Obama Administration’s bailout of the auto industry, which especially helped the manufacturing-heavy states of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio (they were the three Midwestern states that suffered the heaviest job losses in 2008 and 2009). And look who’s dead last in this time period! The one state in the Midwest that had right-to-work-for-less for the entire time- Iowa. Strike One, Kurt.

Now, let’s look at the last 22 months, since all three of those states have had right-to-work-for-less on their books.

Private sector job growth Dec 2012- Oct 2014
U.S. +4.36%
Minn +3.85%
Ind. +3.32%
Mich +2.67%
Wis. +2.65%
Iowa +2.58%
Ohio +2.05%
Ill. +1.62%

Huh, our neighbors across the St. Croix (who don’t have right-to-work-for-less and taxed the rich) beat everyone else in the Midwest. And Michigan and Iowa (who Bauer claims are grabbing jobs from us) aren’t adding jobs at any different of a rate as we’ve been adding in Wisconsin, and Michigan has noticeably slowing down from the strong rate of growth they had before they passed RTWFL at the end of 2012. Strike Two.

Indiana has seemed reasonably successful at continuing to add jobs (albeit at a slightly lower rate than they did in the previous three years) and maybe there’s a place the WMC honks can hang their hats on, especially when compared to the lack of growth bordering states Ohio and Illinois. But at the same time, Indiana had the lowest private sector wage growth of any Midwestern state in the last Quarterly Census on Wages and Employment, which covered March 2013-March 2014, and had the 7th-lowest wage growth in the nation. So is that a worthwhile trade and sustainable direction to take? I don’t think so.

And Indiana’s “smallest midget” type of success still doesn’t support Kurt Bauer’s hypothesis that RTWFL is this magic pill for job growth. If that was true, you’d see Michigan, Indiana and Iowa be the top three in job growth for the Midwest after 2012, and growing above the national rate of job growth. They are doing neither. Strike Three, Bauer.

But wait, there’s more economic fail from the top guy at Wisconsin's corporate union professional organization!
Bauer listed a half dozen other legislative priorities in the upcoming session for Wisconsin "to achieve its full economic potential." They include a "modest" gas tax hike and increasing the state's vehicle registration fee. WMC and a series of business groups last month raised concerns over whether the Department of Transportation's request for $751 million in new taxes and fees was "appropriate." Bauer wrote bonding "isn't a long-term solution" to the state's transportation needs.

The others listed included aligning the state and federal versions of the Family Medical Leave Act, reducing costs associated with the state's worker's compensation program, eliminating the state's highest income tax bracket of 7.65 percent, uniform statewide standards on frac sand mining, and investing in workforce training.
Oh, so Kurt has no problem with tax increases if his fellow manufacturing oligarchs can get some of those taxpayer dollars funneled back to them in the form of road-building contracts. It’s just taxes that end up going to “other people” that they’re not so keen on paying. Funny how that works.

And I love the euphemisms Bauer throws out there. Let me give you the WMC-to-reality translations.

“Reducing costs associated with the state’s worker compensation program.” = Not having to be on the hook for working people to injury and death, and offloading the cost of social responsibility onto individuals and taxpayers. And if it allows for more corners to be cut since the consequences of unsafe work environments are reduced (or outright eliminated)- all the better!

“Uniform state standards for frac sand mining.” = Eliminating local control that might disallow fracking in certain communities, or disallow local communities from suing for the cleanup costs and related environmental damage. Instead, let the “Chamber of Commerce mentality” types that Scott Walker has appointed to the Department of Natural Resources allow these companies to run wild without consequence for the damage they may cause.

“Investing in workforce training” = Allowing taxpayers to pick up the costs of hiring and training beginning workers, instead of having the business pay for it themselves (like they did in the “good ol’ days”). Bonus: With right-to-work-for-less, these workers won’t get paid as much either, which allows the WMC oligarchs to pocket even more profits.

We’ve already done versions of this tax cutting and deregulation since the start of 2011 in Fitzwalkerstan, and all it’s gotten us is subpar job growth, exploding budget deficits and massive division throughout the state. And now the WMC crowd wants to do MORE of this? It proves yet again that these people and the WisGOP politicians they front for don’t really care about adding jobs, improving the Wisconsin economy, or creating an environment that attracts talkent for the next generation of entrepreneurs. They just want to grab more profit and power for themselves and their political allies, and they don’t give a damn what kind of fallout occurs from it, because they figure they will buy their way out of any trouble. Which is why these people should be fought against at every turn.

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