By Doug Magill
The response of anybody interested in liberty is that we all have a say and the ability to have an argument is exactly what liberty is, even though it may never be resolved. In any authoritarian society the possessor of power dictates, and if you try and step outside he will come after you.
Lost in all of the crocodile wailing about the Hobby Lobby decision was a case of greater import to our nation in Harris vs. Quinn. Pamela Harris was an Illinois homemaker caring for her developmentally disabled son. Because the state Medicaid program valued home care as a way to save money, she received partial funding through that state’s program. As is typical in the public sector union racket, Illinois gave the SEIU the ability to organize home care workers. Their interest was simply that home care workers didn’t need much attention from the union, but their coerced dues could be used to help them support more Democrat candidates. The iron oligarchy of the union-Democrat alliance.
But Pam Harris didn’t feel she needed a union to bargain for her as she only cared about taking care of her son, and who was she going to bargain with anyway? Still, the SEIU persisted but they happened to push the wrong woman a little too hard on this issue. She sued all the way to the Supreme Court and won. Not only does she not have to be coerced into paying dues to a union that would do little for her, neither will any of the other home care workers in Illinois, most of whom are individuals taking care of their own disabled children.
This scenario played out on a state level in Michigan recently as well. Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm gave the SEIU a gift in 2005 by enabling the union to organize that state’s home care workers. Most of them were also individuals caring for disabled family members, but by reclassifying them as public sector workers because they received Medicaid funds then they could be forced to pay 2.75% of their Medicaid reimbursements to a union that would do nothing to support them. It was simply a dues grab by the SEIU.
Correcting the problem the Michigan legislature passed a law in 2012 that changed the classification of home care workers declaring that they were not, in fact, public sector workers. In a very short period of time, the number of members of the healthcare union fell by 80%. Unfortunately, the union managed to coerce over $34 million from those dedicated souls in the interim.
Wisconsin’s Act 10, which was passed in 2010, has had a similar affect as that state has drops of over 80% in the membership of many public sector unions. Unions rely on the coercive power of the state to enable them to extort dues which they use for political purposes. Most union members do not approve of this, and in the next few years we will see additional challenges to forced unionization. The results will bring much-needed balance not only to our labor markets, but to our politics as well.
What we are now seeing in challenges to coerced unionization is being writ large with respect to corporations. Unions, taxes and regulations are destroying the ability of many companies to compete domestically and internationally. Having had enough of California’s corrosive atmosphere towards enterprise, Toyota is moving its headquarters to Texas. Not only will that affect the economy of the state, it changes the image of California as being the best place to live and develop products. Despite its politically correct investment and support of green-darling Tesla, Toyota grew tired being used as a convenient scapegoat for local political issues and losing money on mandated vehicles that are neither truly efficient nor profitable.
Pratt & Whitney is a venerable name in aviation. Thousands of U.S. aircraft were powered by their engines during World War II, and they have continued to burnish that already-bright reputation. Unfortunately, they too have decided that California is hostile to business and have announced that one of their subdivisions will be heading to more encouraging locales:
Once upon a time we were promised changes to health insurance that included the ability to keep our current insurance, pay less, keep our doctors and decrease the national debt. All of which have now been revealed as lies. In a dialectic pretzel that would make Pravda proud, the New York Times claims that we have to “break people away from the choice habit.” Who’d have known? The ability to make individual decisions is a destructive habit.
When even the liberal coastal media begins to question the competency of the President and his staff as disaster after disaster rolls across the Potomac, the country begins to wonder just who is occupying the highest office in the land? It has been well known that Obama doesn’t have much of a work ethic, but unfortunately he has hired a number of people not only of little experience but little education as well. And certainly little knowledge of how the country works. There are no staff members with entrepreneurial experience, not military backgrounds, no agricultural work and probably no non-Ivy league perspectives. Except for the revolving door for Wall Street executives (ever practical they had no problem being captured by Democrats), this may be the most insular and immature group of people ever assembled to run a country in recorded history. Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and his Enemies, recalls a conversation with an accomplished CEO where he complained “when we go to the White House, we talk to people we wouldn’t hire.” Indeed.
Thomas Piketty has become the new darling of the pseudo-intellectual left. His book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century comes to conclusions already meeting the perspective of the redistributionist vultures. Presenting data that seems to meet their theme that capital drives inequality and rapacious taxation levels are required to correct these grievous wrongs, he is getting glowing reviews from the liberal press not seen since Hillary Clinton’s first book (or second? or was it an article? one loses track). The problem is, like most studies that purport to support liberal fantasies, he couldn’t quite make the data match his conclusions so he either makes it up or modifies it. He has a future with the global warming crowd.
It should never be underestimated how creative Americans can be. Once we begin to lift the burden and uncertainty of a bloated and misguided government, our economy should boom. In the meantime, enjoy viewing what one enterprising but lazy dog owner has invented.
Doug Magill is a communications consultant, freelance writer and voice-over talent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org