Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Bill Lant: Right-to-work lowers wages, but I'm for it anyway

The anti-union mindset of our Joplin-area legislators will be back in the 2015 legislative session.

Rep. Bill Lant pre-filed right-to-work legislation Monday, and in this KMOX interview, admits that right-to-work lowers wages, but he is for it anyway.

It's good to have someone in Jefferson City who is looking out for the worker.


Anonymous said...

Conversely, keeping wages artificially high reduces the number of workers that businesses can hire, thus increasing the unemployment rate. Further, the costs of the higher wages are passed on to consumers thus aggravating inflation.

Unions performed an essential function one hundred years ago, when there were inadequate protections for workers. Now, unions have become victims of their own greed and unreasonableness, and their usefulness has evaporated. Were it not for a greedy union, lots of people would still be employed making Twinkies for the company that invented them. But, the union was more willing to see the company fail than accept wages the market could bear. How much sense does that make?

Go Joplin-area legislators.

Anonymous said...

6:44, your comments would make the CEOs of the multinational corporations proud. It amazes me that people have been brainwashed into thinking that groups fighting for liveable wages, decent insurance, and a secure retirement are somehow greedy and evil. What about the heads of corporations that set new records every year for both profit and executive pay? The 1% are not the job creators that faux news would have you believe. Jobs are created by a strong middle class having disposable income to spend on goods and services. Disproportionate wealth at the top hurts the economy. The Koch brothers are not going to buy 100,000 cars just because they can afford it, but the general population with money to spend will. Employers are constantly reducing wages and benefits while requiring people to work more and more hours to allow for less hiring. I will never be convinced that people should just be happy to have a job and be content to suffer through life with little to show for their full time work while 1% of the US has more wealth than half the population. There needs to be more groups fighting for the rights of all workers. Do yourself a favor and watch the documentary entitled Inequality for All. You might learn something.

Anonymous said...

Consumer spending should not be the main pillar holding up the American economy in the first place. Masses of consumers "buying stuff" is not sufficient, by itself, to keep the economy growing. Reliance on consumer spending creates an unhealthy economic structure where people often spend more than they can afford (often on high-interest credit), creating a bubble and risking recession.

Jobs are created when people like the Koch brothers buy factories (not 100,000 cars), start businesses, create innovations, and add to the economy in other meaningful and long-lasting ways. Those businesses are what create the jobs so that consumers can earn money working those jobs and have money to spend in the first place. God bless the 1%. Without them, we'd all be screwed.

In any event, unions are not evil; they have simply outlasted their usefulness. While it once protected employees from truly dangerous conditions (think child labor in coal mines circa 1890), now, collective bargaining tends to distort the economy in unhealthy ways. Slave-driving evil employers who take joy in screwing their employees is a fallacy. Any business owner knows that human resources are the most important resources you have, and you need to take care of them to thrive.

The market for employees is just like any other market. If employers are really that bad, then workers will migrate to employers who are better. We've recently seen companies like Apple and Google begin offering fantastic fringe benefits and high pay in order to attract the best people. They did not do this out of the kindness of their liberal hearts; rather, they were trying to outmaneuver their competitors and come away with the best available workers. Employees who are dissatisfied with their employers are always free to look for another, better job. If enough good people leave, then a bad employer will have to change to remain competitive.

One of the beauties of at-will employment is that employees are always free to look for a better job. If they are stuck at a job they don't like, the answer is to obtain the skills and education necessary to land a better job at a better company. There are plenty of opportunities to do that in today's America. Unionizing and whining about their lot in life is not the answer. The most important "worker's right" is the right to find a better job somewhere else.

While we're at it, the market for CEOs is also a free market. Those evil executives can command high pay because they are literally worth it. They have demonstrated an ability to raise the value of the company's stock price, benefitting shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders. Some companies may make bad deals with CEOs now and then that result in a misguided golden parachute, but those companies pay the price for that, because the shareholders are the ones taking the loss, and they will hire new directors next time who aren't so stupid. That's how a market economy works. There are winners and losers.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who is dumb enough to believe that American workers no longer need protection in the work force obviously has paid no attention to the incredible shrinking middle class due to deflated wages. What an idiot. A proud member of the Right Wing. Rose colored glasses, flags wafting in the wind, it's all a nice picture, but America is not a fair place in which to work, and that is because of greed at the top and ignorance at the bottom.

Anonymous said...

6:44 must be a member of the Joplin School Board. Work employees to death, offer them as little as you can for benefits, and suppress their wages. Justify yourself so you can keep a few dollars in your pocket, and then blame everyone but yourself when things go bad. Same mentality.

Anonymous said...

"In 1976, the top 1 percent of households in the United States received 8.9 percent of all pre-tax income. In 2012, the top 1 percent share had more than doubled to 22.46 percent."

"The total inflation-adjusted net worth of the Forbes 400, an annual listing of America’s richest individuals, rose from $507 billion in 1995 to $1.62 trillion in 2007, before increasing again to $2 trillion in 2012."

"Estimates from the Credit Suisse Research Institute, released in October 2010, show that the richest 0.5 percent of global adults hold well over a third of the world’s wealth."

"Approximately one third of annual deaths in the United States, epidemiological researchers believe, can be credited to the nation’s excessive inequality."

"Beginning in the 1970s, economic growth slowed and the income gap widened. Income growth for households in the middle and lower parts of the distribution slowed sharply, while incomes at the top continued to grow strongly.
The concentration of income at the very top of the distribution rose to levels last seen more than 80 years ago (during the “Roaring Twenties")."

"The AFL-CIO released data stating that American CEOs in 2013 earned an average of $11.7 million–an eye-popping 331 times the average worker’s $35,293. The multiple more than doubles when compared to minimum wage workers; the average CEO in 2013 out-earned this group 774 times over."

"The stagnating wages of the working and middle classes and the high unemployment create a situation in which the wealthy are the primary consumers. High-end businesses are thriving, while others are going under.

This is an untenable state of affairs for capitalism. One economist, Steven Fazzari, is quoted as saying that “it’s going to be hard to maintain strong economic growth with such a large proportion of the population falling behind,” and that to depend on only a small part of the population to drive demand makes the economy more volatile. Capitalism cannot survive under such conditions."

If these statistics can't convince you that more worker protection is needed, nothing will. You can quote from the right-wing talking points and propose economic theories all you like, but the facts speak for themselves. When a company is entirely driven by profit, there is no incentive for that business to pay workers any more than the bare minimum necessary to maintain a workforce. SLashing worker pay and benefits and reducing the amount of workers eligible for benefits are fantastic ways for corporations to make more profit. Do you honestly believe that these places are going to police themselves if nobody is watching out for the average worker? If you do, you and I will have to agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

1:52, there are a couple of things you say that I find humorous.

First, you state that people like the Koch brothers buy factories and innovate, thus creating jobs. My question to you is Who exactly will be buying these innovative products the factories are making when the middle class continues to dwindle and fewer and fewer people have less disposable income?

Secondly, you mention God and the 1% in the same sentence saying that we should be thankful for them. I have a hard time believing that the answer to the question of, "What would Jesus Do" would be to try to turn a 6 billion dollar profit into 20 billion by hiring the bare minimum number of workers, paying them as little as possible, and providing them next to nothing in benefits and retirement.

You use Google and Apple as examples of how companies treat employees. Try making the same case with Walmart. When Walmart comes into a town and drives out all of the Mom and Pop businesses, where are all of those workers going to look for the better jobs you refer to? Walmart? They are notorious for low pay and keeping employees under 40 hours so they won't have to provide benefits. How many businesses are going under because they can't compete with Amazon? Are all of those workers just going to find great jobs with Amazon? Unless someone fights for workers rights, this trend will continue and there won't be better jobs to go to.