Missouri and Right to Work

In our opinion the very best way to get Missouri’s economy out of its doldrums is to make Missouri a Right-to-Work state. This would open up closed shops and would make Missouri less unattractive to businesses looking to move to a more business-friendly climate. The Associated Press reports in this evening’s Columbia Daily Tribune, based on interviews with Republican legislative leaders in Jefferson City, this rather outrageous piece of bad news:

Right-to-work considered unlikely in Missouri

Republicans have veto-proof supermajorities in both houses of the legislature, yet refuse even to try to engage this critical issue. Instead they might “consider proposals dealing with prevailing wage requirements” or require unions to get workers’ permission to use dues for political purposes. The House and Senate cited the certain opposition of the Governor, who is close to the pocket of big labor, if not wholly in it.

We confess that our blood pressure did not do well upon reading this report. The Republican supermajority might consider diddling around the edges of the critical issue with prevailing wages. And then again they might not. The opposition of the Governor is not the determining reason. House Speaker Tim Jones, citing Michigan, claimed that we need the support of “a strong, conservative Republican governor who is willing to lead on that issue.” But the Michigan governor did not lead on the issue, which he said was not on his agenda. The Michigan legislature rose up and acted on its own – precisely what we expect of our legislature. Speaker Jones let the cat out of the bag when he confessed that  “some of his caucus members would face a difficult vote on a right-to-work measure.” Leadership, courage, and wisdom are what we expect our representatives to demonstrate. Instead we seem to have a number of pusillanimous politicos hiding under their desks, sacrificing the good of the state for the opportunity to further a political career that likely will soon be cut short by term limits anyway.

Forcing the issue, even were it to lose to the Governor’s veto pen, would accomplish several things.  It would force legislators out from under their desks to vote up or down. And those who vote down could then be held accountable the next election. The Governor claims to be independent – put him on the spot. It would bring the issue of Missouri’s very poor economic performance to the fore. The votes may be there in two years’ time. Compromises on side issues can make it harder to accomplish the main goal, because the marginal improvement gained permits many marginal supporters to switch sides, playing both sides against the middle they claim to represent.

We share the disgust Tea Partiers, libertarians, and others show for this kind of politics as usual. We are sick and tired of Republicans whose implicit campaign slogan is: Elect Me! I’m not as bad as my Democrat challenger.




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