E. Roy Budd: Let Indiana Create Jobs

E. Roy Budd, writing in the Star Press makes a compelling case for Indiana enacting a Right to Work law.  With Gov. Mitch Daniels mulling a run for the presidency, nothing would be more compelling to workers than if he helped give workers in Indiana choice in whether to join a union:

Relatively speaking, the aggregate income of Hoosiers has been shrinking for decades. Back in 1970, Hoosiers took in 2.4 percent of U.S. personal, current-dollar income. By 1980, Indiana’s share of American personal income had fallen to 2.2 percent. Since then, it has continued falling, to 2.0 percent in 1990 and 1.9 percent in 2008. Indiana has also suffered a substantial decline in its share of America’s young employees and entrepreneurs. In 1970, 2.5 percent of Americans aged 25-44 lived in Indiana. By 1985, Indiana’s allotment of this contingent had sunk to 2.3 percent and in 2008, the latest year for which such data are available; it stood at just 2.1 percent.

Next year, 2011, the Indiana Legislature will be considering what steps they can take to reverse these disturbing trends. Fortunately, a simple policy reform that has the proven potential to accelerate income growth and expand job opportunities is to make Indiana the nation’s 23rd Right to Work State. For many Right to Work supporters in Indiana and elsewhere, moral principle alone provides sufficient reason to prohibit all forms of forced union membership. The moral case for Right to Work is easy to state: A worker’s freedom not to affiliate with a labor union is no less deserving of protection than his or her freedom to affiliate with a union. This is why the proposed “card check” legislation proposed by the Obama administration makes no rational sense.

But the economic record of the 22 states that already have Right to Work laws indicates that a similar law for Indiana would be good for Hoosiers’ pocketbooks.