Right to Work State Residents Far Less Apt to Need Welfare
So far, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has released data for the first nine months of Fiscal 2015 reporting the average number of residents in each state who were dependent on cash payments from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to get by.
As they consistently have done in the past, the latest ACF data for the 50 states show that residents of states lacking Right to Work protections for employees are far more likely to rely on TANF money than are residents of states where the Right to Work is protected by law. (See the first link below to review the data for yourself.)
To be precise, an average of 14.2 per 1000 residents of forced-unionism states were TANF recipients during the first nine months of FY 2015, compared to an average of just 4.4 per 1000 in Right to Work states. Eleven of the 12 states with the highest TANF dependency ratios lack Right to Work laws, while 14 of the 15 states with the smallest shares of residents receiving TANF payments are Right to Work states.
TANF dependency is far lower on average in Right to Work states for two basic reasons. First, poverty as gauged by the federal government’s supplemental poverty measure (SPM), which takes regional cost-of-living differences into account, is much lower in Right to Work states than in forced-unionism states for Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans, and slightly lower for African Americans and whites. (See the second link below for more information.)
Second, members of households in Right to Work states that technically fit the SPM definition of “poor” are clearly far more apt to believe that they can improve their circumstances without taking cash from the the federal government than are counterparts in the rest of the country. Consequently, residents of Right to Work states who legally qualify for TANF support very frequently opt not to receive it.
In light of the above facts, as well as the fact that TANF dependency in forced-unionism West Virginia alone is more than double the average for Right to Work states, it is outrageous that high-ranking union bosses who are have been fighting desperately to block enactment of the 26th state Right to Work law in the Mountain State are now suggesting that corralling workers into unions is a remedy for poverty!
For example, Teamsters Local 175 chieftain Ken Hall audaciously insinuated to members of the state House Judiciary Committee late last week that struggling West Virginians will somehow be worse off if his and other union bosses’ forced-dues privileges are revoked.
The actual federal data on cost of living-adjusted poverty and TANF dependency show Hall has no idea what he’s talking about. In reality, a West Virginia Right to Work law would, in addition to protecting employee freedom and promoting faster growth generally, serve as an anti-poverty program with a proven record of success.