Free Markets, Free People


How does one oppose a “right to work?”

Well, if you’re wondering, just take a gander at what is happening in Michigan.

The Democrats will be the first to tell you “elections have consequences”, usually followed by ” … and Obama won”.  Well the same can be said of state level elections and in the case of MI, the GOP won.  In fact, they won everything at the state level, enough to pass “right to work” legislation which essentially says one doesn’t have to join a union to work.

The unions, of course, pitched a tantrum.

And, now that he’s solved all the nation’s problems, balanced the budget, reduced the deficit and has long-term debt on a downward trend, President Obama has weighed in on this situation:

“President Obama has long opposed so-called ‘right to work’ laws and he continues to oppose them now,” said White House spokesman Matt Lehrich. “The president believes our economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights. Michigan — and its workers’ role in the revival of the US automobile industry -– is a prime example of how unions have helped build a strong middle class and a strong American economy.”

The union’s “role in the revival of the US automobile industry”?!

Is he kidding?  It is the unions which essentially helped make two of the big three financially unsustainable.  Remember, GM and Chrysler went bankrupt and had to be bailed out.  And the federal government screwed with the bankruptcy proceedings and handed  a large portion of GM to the union while stiffing bond holders.

That’s the “prime example” in reality.

And the president’s “belief” that our “economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits” doesn’t mean those things only happen with unions.  Apparently, in right-to-work states, unions continue to lose out when they try to organize because workers are getting both good wage and benefits and seem happy with their situation.  What they don’t see is a benefit to unionizing – i.e. paying dues to a union which will be unlikely to do any better.

Finally, how is allowing someone to choose whether or not to join a union “rolling back rights?”

I knew Obama wouldn’t be able to stay out of state level politics, given his base and their demands.  The Democrats have become the party of unions.  Private unions are dying off and they’re getting pretty desperate.  First WI and now MI?  My goodness, can NY and IL be far behind?  How dare the GOP give workers the right to chose not to join a union as a prerequisite to working.  For a party that brags about being the party of choice, other than one particular choice they champion, the Democrats are pretty much opposed to all others.

Unions are the buggy whip of the latest evolution in labor.  Improved communications, a global economy and the realization that businesses have options as well have made unions an anachronism.  Reality and economics say labor is a commodity – a factor of production.  What labor is increasingly realizing is that the jobs they have can be exported or, given today’s technology, mechanized when costs exceed their worth.   Wages are leveling out and in today’s economy, the demands that were once commonly made by unions are no longer economically feasible.    But additionally, bad companies can no longer exist in the dark of a communications vacuum and pay and treat their workers poorly without there being repercussions.  Competition drives wages and benefits as well or better than unions ever did.

It’s a different world.  Unions are 19th century holdovers.

Time they shuffled off into Obsolete-land where they belong.


Voter fraud? Aw, come on, no way.

Or at least that’s what those who oppose using a picture ID to ensure the integrity of the voting system would have you believe.  All a nonissue they tell us.

One day after being sued over a controversial ballot box citizenship question, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said Tuesday there are an estimated 4,000 noncitizens on Michigan’s voter rolls.

The estimate is based on the state’s access to citizenship information for one-fifth of the population, Johnson said, adding the federal government won’t give her access to more citizenship data.

Johnson said the results of a “very tedious” analysis of 58,000 driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards found 963 noncitizens registered to vote.

Department of State employees cross-referenced those noncitizens with voting records and found 54 have a voting history and have voted a total of 95 times, Johnson said.

So you have 963 noncitizens in the sample who have managed to get state issued driver’s licenses.  Nice.  There’s something else that needs to be tightend up a tad in Michigan, huh?

But obviously the point is that you have people who are not entitled to vote voting fraudulently (oh, and they didn’t have any problem obtaining ID so why do our “minorities” have such a tough time?).  And in contests decided by a few votes as we’ve seen numerous times over the years (convicted felons for go big for Al Franken!), the integrity of the system is in question.

However, it’s just too much to a) have people prove their citizens prior to getting a state issued ID and b) produce that at the polling place to ensure they are who they say they are.  You know, like they do when you board a plane?


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Michigan and Missouri spell bad news for the Democrats

When asked what the Missouri vote on health care meant, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "nothing".

And that may end up being true – at least temporarily.  However, what Michigan and Missouri did demonstrate is how deep the water is for the Democrats this November.

Both had hot primary races for governor to draw voters and both states also have open primaries, where voters don’t have to vote in a particular party’s primary.

As it turns out, the GOP carried the day.  In, Michigan, which Obama carried by 16 points, the turn out was 2 to 1 for the GOP candidates.  66% voted in the Republican primary in the state.  In Missouri, where John McCain won by 0.2%, 65% voted in the Republican primary.

The pattern also held for Congressional primaries in the two states as Michael Barone reports.  These sorts of actual results seem to confirm the polls that have warning about this for months.  Enthusiasm is definitely on the side of the GOP.

Democrats, as they analyze these results, are going to find it a bit more difficult to whistle past the graveyard as they’ve tended to do with the polls.  It is obvious, even in deeply blue states such as MI, that the natives are restless and not at all happy  with the Dems.


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How hungry are governments for tax revenue?

Hungry enough to tax minimum wage employees for their “free” (or reduced cost) restaurant meals in Michigan:

Although it may be “free,” that’s not stopping some legislators from attempting to tax it. State Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing, has introduced House Bill 6214, which would tax free meals employees get while working at restaurants and food establishments.

Can anyone think of a better example of a tax which would hit those that can afford it least? One of the few benefits of working what is usually a minimum wage job is the server or worker is allowed one free or reduced cost meal a day. When working for the wages the restaurant industry usually pays – especially in fast food establishments, that helps a bit.

Making them pay the sales tax on the meal probably won’t break them, but it is a direct tax on what Democrats always call “the working poor”. The party that contends they’re the champions of this class are taking a run at squeezing a few more pennies out of their pocket – at least in Michigan.

It also places another collection and book keeping demand on the business. That isn’t “free” either.

Michigan, of course, is a state in which government has essentially failed, is significantly in debt and is looking for any sort of revenue it can scare up.

What’s next, taxing the dead for the privilege of being buried in the state?



Michigan legislator proposes law to license journalists

The idea that the states were to be the “laboratories of freedom” has been an idea expressed for years by advocates of liberty. New concepts, supposedly rooted in liberty, were to be tried in the states to see if they worked and could be applied more broadly within the nation.

But, as we’ve learned over the years, the states can also be laboratories of tyranny as well. Or at least attempts at tyranny. Michigan offers the latest example:

A Michigan lawmaker wants to license reporters to ensure they’re credible and vet them for “good moral character.”

Nothing nebulous or arbitrary there. More importantly, since when – given the 1st Amendment to the Constitution – does any legislative body have the power to regulate speech? The 1st Amendment was incorporated to apply to the states in 1925 (See Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925)(dicta)).

Here’s the interesting part – the legislator in question is a Republican and, according to the article, “practices Constitutional law.” He may practice it, but he doesn’t appear to understand it very well.

He claims his desire to regulate the licensing of journalists is in the public interest.

“Legitimate media sources are critically important to our government,” he said.

He told that some reporters covering state politics don’t know what they’re talking about and they’re working for publications he’s never heard of, so he wants to install a process that’ll help him and the general public figure out which reporters to trust.

“We have to be able to get good information,” he said. “We have to be able to rely on the source and to understand the credentials of the source.”

If you missed the nuance, he’s essentially saying that government, through it’s licensing process, will determine what media is “legitimate” and what isn’t. No state seal of approval (i.e. license) equals illegitimate media.

The obvious problem, even to those a little slow on the uptake, is not just the licensing, but the power that gives government to show it’s displeasure with a journalist or the story (or investigation, etc.) the journalist has produced by pulling his or her license.

Instantly delegitimized.

These are the provisions of the bill:

According to the bill, reporters must provide the licensing board proof of:

–“Good moral character” and demonstrate they have industry “ethics standards acceptable to the board.”

–Possession of a degree in journalism or other degree substantially equivalent.

–Not less than 3 years experience as a reporter or any other relevant background information.

–Awards or recognition related to being a reporter.

–Three or more writing samples.

Reporters will also have to pay an application and registration fee.

The bill doesn’t prevent others who are not licensed by the state from covering Michigan (certainly not initially), but the intent is clear.

Bruce Patterson, the legislator in question, says there’s little chance his bill will pass. As others point out, it is a single sponsor bill. And Patterson is now claiming that he’s only trying to provoke a discussion with his bill to point out the difficulty of knowing if an information source is legitimate:

“What’s the definition of a reporter? I haven’t been able to find out? What’s a reporter? What’s a journalist?” Patterson said. “I thought you had to have a degree in journalism but apparently not. I could retire and be a journalist.”

Patterson said he wants a central place where members of the public can go to find out about reporters’ credentials, background and experience. “I’m talking about a central depository for information so someone can go find all that out,”

Patterson said, comparing his idea to the vetting process for expert witnesses who testify in court. The senator said that he feels that there’s no way to tell who’s a legitimate journalist and who’s just rewriting other reporters’ reporting and twisting facts.

Hmmm … how about assuming the responsibility on your own? I would guess that most of us who read the offerings on the net, for instance, and various blogs know which ones we can trust and which ones aren’t at all trustworthy. We also know enough check something controversial with numerous sources. Most of us have hear of and where we can vet rumors. What we certainly don’t need is some state deciding the only “legitimate” reporters out there are some “J school” grad – not with what we’ve seen over the past few years from their ilk.

Anyway, I found this to be quite interesting. I don’t necessarily buy into his contention that he introduced this just to stir discussion (I’m guessing that’s his fall-back position after receiving a lot of resistance to this) but it certainly has.

The most important thing it suggests is there are people on both sides who would regulate your life to a point where most choice – the essence of freedom – would be removed from it. And, they are in both parties – an important point. What is important to do, and one of the function of blogs, in my opinion, is to expose such ideas to the light of day. Of course, had I done this under the auspices of the proposed Michigan law, I’d have been an illegitimate source and you would be advised to ignore me.