Saturday, January 09, 2010

Detroit as a Case Study

Here’s a quick follow up to my earlier post on Detroit. First, commenter Richard links to this PJTV video showing more of the details and background to Detroit’s “experiment” with welfare-statism (subscription required).

Second, this WSJ editorial illustrates the power of unions in Michigan in particular, but throughout the country in general.

Please note that I’m not against anyone’s right to bargain collectively, but I am against the numerous rights violations entailed by strike-breaking laws and other powers legislated to the unions. For instance, strike-breaking laws prevent employers from hiring other, non-union workers (who would happily work for less money or fewer perks than do the union workers). This violates both the rights of the employers and of the non-union laborers. As is often the case, immorality (in this case the injustice against employers and potential workers) also results in economic consequences. Here, not only are consumers punished by having to pay higher prices for the goods produced, but union workers are given a false sense of worth, which is exposed when producers in other markets, undercut and eventually put the high-cost producers out of business — leaving their workers without jobs and often without prospects.

Note also how, once it gains any foothold, government encroachment gradually increases to take over more and more areas of life. In this case the putative reason that day care centers are forced to unionize is because some of their customers receive government aid.
Of course, Michigan's independent day-care providers don't work for anybody except the parents who were their customers. Nevertheless, because some of these parents qualified for public subsidies, the Child Care Providers "union" claimed the providers were "public employees."
There are very few sectors of the economy where a similar argument couldn’t be made, so unless we begin to fight some of the principles upon which these laws are enacted, expect further decay of your rights and liberties.

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