This morning we heard an interview of Tim Jones on radio station KSSZ, Fayette, Missouri. Jones was making a tour of the state promoting his agenda for the new legislative session.
Jones clarified his position a bit on right-to-work, reiterating that not all Republican legislators are “in the wheelbarrow” on the issue. He again cited the need for a strong Republican governor, which to us sounds like squishy Republicans hoping someone else takes the heat for a principled stand. He mentioned that Governor Nixon received half his campaign support from unions and the other half from trial lawyers. To us this clearly demonstrates what the two main agenda items should be:
- Right to Work
- Revision of the Missouri Plan
Jones then said that his agenda included Paycheck Protection, not Right to Work. Experts, he said, believe enacting Paycheck Protection legislation, so unions may not use workers’ dues for political purposes without their permission, is just as important as Right to Work. Let’s examine this. With Paycheck Protection forced unionization remains in place along with its deleterious economic effects. Unions have naturally found ways around the law. At best union dues may be reduced a bit. Nibbling at the edges and making marginal improvements will make the ultimate goal harder to achieve, as removing the worst aspects renders the remaining ones more tolerable. An honest fight for Right to Work would achieve much good even if it fails. It would keep a conservative issue in the public eye and ear and give Republicans an opportunity to express their philosophy.
Now why, inquiring minds ask, would a fight for Paycheck Protection have more Republican legislator support than Right to Work? Both would surely face intense political opposition. Could it be that the squishy Republicans are more concerned about choking off contributions to Democrats and thus securing their reelection chances than they are about the good of the state? And could it be that the voters of the state would see this as the Republican political class courageous about advancing its own political interests and craven about the interests of all? This is a recipe for political defeat. Have we learned nothing from the success of Democrats, who relentlessly promote their ideas, artfully concealed so they appear good and wholesome, until voters finally come around?
Further reading: Missouri News Horizon has posted several interesting articles on the right-to-work issue. John Fund wrote a brief summary of the issue state by state after Michigan for National Review. Charles Krauthammer wrote about Right to Work in historical and global context.
Addendum: The great Richard Epstein has released a clear-thinking article stating that since unions are industrial cartels serving no social purpose, right-to-work legislation should be pursued vigorously. Compromise is only beneficial if it serves to get us where we need to go.