An item posted on the AFL-CIO web site yesterday (see the link below) boasts about how Big Labor and its front groups successfully led the charge for passage this week of a New Jersey ballot measure hiking the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour.
As a single-issue group, the National Right to Work Committee does not take any stand, favorable or negative, regarding proposals to raise the minimum wage at the federal, state or local level. However, regardless of what one things of the merits the Garden State minimum-wage hike, which was adopted with 61% of the vote, one point made by AFL-CIO blogger Kenneth Quinnell himself and by one of his sources is surely true.
Quinnell refers to New Jersey as an “expensive state.” Gordon MacInnes, president of the Big Labor-allied New Jersey Policy Perspective, is cited by Quinnell as asserting that it is difficult for “low-wage workers . . . to survive in this high-cost state.”
Indeed, objective data show New Jersey is very high cost. Over the course of 2012, the average cost of living in New Jersey was roughly 31% higher than the national average and roughly 38% higher than the average for Right to Work states, according to interstate cost-of-living indices calculated and published by the nonpartisan Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.
But if the AFL-CIO hierarchy and its operatives know the average cost of living is far higher in New Jersey and in forced-unionism states generally than in Right to Work states, why do they suddenly forget this fact when they are making economic comparisons between states where compulsory union dues are authorized and promoted and those where they are banned?
Another page of the AFL-CIO web site compares annual employee earnings, household incomes, poverty and per pupil spending in Right to Work and non-Right to Work states, without making any adjustment whatsoever for interstate differences in cost of living.
To be sure, acknowledging that the differences Big Labor trumpets when it’s touting minimum-wage hikes are also highly relevant to the debate over the economic impact of Right to Work laws would be very inconvenient for AFL-CIO bigwigs. That’s because, as a fact sheet just published by the National Right to Work Committee’s research affiliate, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, points out, the average cost of living-adjusted disposable income per capita in Right to Work states last year was roughly $1300 higher than the average in forced-unionism states.
When you think about it, the selective amnesia of AFL-CIO bosses and their propagandists when it comes to interstate differences in cost of living is perfectly understandable!