Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making Indiana a Right To Work State

HARBESON: Labor intensive

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — How sad to see the waste of human labor, unionized and not unionized, that’s being expended on the political fight in Indiana concerning the right-to-work issue.

Removed from government, unions are simply people united for common goals in their workplace — a marvelous concept. Removed from government, businesses are simply people trying to meet a demand in the market and hiring people to help — a marvelous concept. Removed from government, when there is a need for conflict resolution, the parties involved work to negotiate a mutually satisfying agreement, understanding compromise may be necessary — a marvelous concept.

However, when unions and corporations use government to gain an advantage over the other party, well, that’s not so marvelous.

It’s also not very smart. When government interferes in what should be voluntary interactions, even when one group thinks they benefited and “won” the fight, they still lose because now they are prisoners, handcuffed to the unpredictability of the political process.

We have clear evidence of this in regards to this issue because a right-to-work law was successfully passed in Indiana back in 1957. Then it was repealed in the mid 1960s. Now here it is again, casting a huge shadow over the people in Indiana. And if the legislation passes, it could be repealed at some future point.

What’s worse, all of this action is only a tiny part of a continuing response to previous government actions, much of it on the federal level. On and on we go. And yet we still believe government solves problems.

The only people who really benefit are the politicians because their interference solidifies and intensifies the rift, ensuring their continuing involvement. This interference between these two groups in particular has helped create the huge funding funnels that are essential in maintaining the two major political party machines we see today.

Indiana Republicans are either dense or being completely disingenuous about the right-to-work proposal. The Democrats have it right — this law, if passed, would not make Indiana a right-to-work state.

Yes, it’s true that this law would prohibit contracts between employers and unions that require all employees to pay union representation fees. But that does not mean Indiana residents would then be living in a state where no fees were charged in order to work. It would only mean the fees that are paid would be lowered for some individuals.

Indiana cannot be a right-to-work state as long as it continues to charge its own fees for the so-called right to work, otherwise known as the income tax. And even if the politicians pushing for this right-to-work law decide to be consistent and amend this bill to include repeal of the state income tax, Indiana still wouldn’t be able to completely unshackle hard working individuals because the federal government also charges fees for working.

They don’t call those annual speeches the state of the union for nothing you know.

Business owners/management, unionized workers and nonunionized workers are experiencing the exact same labor struggle — being hindered in their desire to gain higher wages when forced to hand over fees to the state. Unfortunately, as long as these groups focus on fighting each other through the political process, they can’t see this one grievance they actually have in common — the one grievance that can unite them.

And the politicians certainly aren’t going to point it out.

Although it’s now complicated due to previous actions, the root of the right-to-work issue is as simple as any other issue — government should not be interfering in the voluntary interactions between individuals and it’s a mistake for either side in this conflict, business or union, to use it to do so.

— Clark County resident Debbie Harbeson is currently searching for a huge funding funnel of her very own.

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