When Rick Snyder was elected as governor of Michigan one had to be encouraged that his business background would be an asset in his decision making, since he wouldn’t be as beholden to the political party gridlock that dominates today’s politics. We could instead expect that decisions would be made based on statistical analysis and return on investment.
Unfortunately through two years of governing it appears Snyder has abandoned his business acumen in favor of a more hard-line political approach and the recent decision regarding “right to work” is prime example of this shift.
In his email blast to support his controversial choice of making Michigan a “right to work” state, the governor touts Indiana as the impetus for the change. Using such anecdotal evidence is a mind numbingly simplistic way of making such a contentious decision. You could just as easily point to Oklahoma and decide “right to work” laws don’t work.
The problem with this line of thinking is that it suggests “right to work” is the only factor a company considers when deciding where to locate its business. Given that only 6.9% of private sector jobs are union jobs it would be a stretch to think that the average company gives the union environment of a state much consideration.
Even beyond that it should be noted that Gov. Snyder himself indicated that the corporate tax cuts that he championed would create jobs. If corporate tax cuts create jobs, then how can “right to work” status be credited with all of the jobs created by “right to work” states? And if Indiana is the model on which Gov. Snyder is basing his decision, it should be pointed out that Indiana also dropped corporate tax rates in 2011. Based on the governor’s rhetoric one might assume that 100% of Indiana’s recent job creation could be attributed to their corporate tax rates and that “right to work” has little to no impact on Indiana’s job creation.
As a businessman one would expect the governor to look for a correlation between “right to work” and job creation if he is going to proclaim “right to work” as the solution to Michigan’s job situation. But the governor has done no such thing because the data doesn’t support his stance. As a matter of fact 5 of the top 7 states for job creation are workers rights states. Additionally since 2008 “right to work” states have seen private sector jobs losses of 4.14%, with workers rights states losing a nearly identical 4.18%. If “right to work” created so many jobs then why is there almost no difference in the job creation in “right to work” states versus workers rights states?
But it seems that Rick Snyder has decided to ignore his business roots, which require a thorough analysis of data, and insist on masquerading this legislation as a “choice” for Michigan workers. This means the governor must acknowledge that allowing 85 politicians in a lame duck session to decide this issue for an entire state is not an example of giving people a choice. If Rick Snyder and Republicans truly care about choice, then they should use the democratic process and put “right to work” on the ballot, letting the people choose at the polls.