Michigan Right to Work, Illegal Immigration, and the Working-Class Wage

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

by Todd Jackson

On December 10, President Barack Obama addressed the decision, to be signed into law by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder the next day, making Michigan the 24th “Right to Work” state in the Union.

Never mind, for a moment, that not only the President’s speech but the entire liberal position on Right to Work is one sustained distortion; that it will not in any sense destroy the unions. (Nevada is a Right to Work state, but Las Vegas is a strong union town, with the Culinary Union and several others undiminished by the state’s Right to Work status).

Never mind, for a moment, that Michigan has been hemorrhaging jobs, and with it, population; or that the impact of Right to Work legislation on States has been overwhelmingly positive, and the movement of jobs from Union States to Right to Work States has been precipitous.

If the President opposes Right to Work on the basis that, ultimately, it represents a “right to work for less money,” this only recalls all of his policies that depress wages far more significantly than any Right to Work law. Three things come to mind immediately: the President’s resistance to State efforts at curbing illegal immigration; Obamacare; and the growing, unpredictable mountain of Obama regulation. In each case, the President has taken positions which sacrifice wages for the American working class in favor of some other part of the Left agenda. Taken together, this turns into a snapshot of liberal politics: an ad hoc hodge-podge of contradictory opinions that have no common core other than their common expediency.

When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation into State law SB 1070 as a measure against illegal immigration, the Obama Administration took the State to court. Then, the President said that the law would act “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

Is it basically fair that an employee be forced to join a union, to pay union dues, have those dues used to support the Democratic Party, and – less we forget – be forced to vote according to “card check” rules favored by unions and the President, allowing unions to know how each member votes on every issue? No. It isn’t. Meanwhile, the more permissive Obama attitude toward immigration exerts a downward pressure on working class wages, including the wages of Mexican-Americans whose families might well have lived in Arizona or New Mexico for over two hundred years.

This sort of contradiction is part and parcel of the liberal mindset. It is a well-meaning mess of sentimental positions in which one is judged by intentions, not effects. This is so for liberals themselves, people most conservatives don’t “get.” Liberals are typically people acting out of the nicest motives – but quite flexible when it comes to principle.

This is much less obviously the case when it comes to Democratic Party leaders like the President. For them, it’s about more concrete issues: votes and money. Which is to say, it’s about power.

Governor Snyder has taken an action which will lead to greater job growth, and greater job diversification, in Michigan. His action will make the unions more responsive to the rank and file, whose favor it can no longer coerce, but must win on the merits. For his trouble, he is being branded a “rat,” a “Nazi,” and all manner of vileness.

Two things have brought Michigan where it is: rioting mobs and unions. How appropriate that it’s a union mob that’s resisting what will turn out to be beneficial to all save those getting paid $60 to install a lightbulb.

The President said it himself. It’s all about politics.

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