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As Long as We Remember...

December 14, 2012

The Path to Prosperity

Joe Charlebois

As the rights of the individual American continue to erode on a national level, the crucibles of individual rights remain and grow on the state level. The pendulum of rights and freedom that have for decades swung in favor of the collective have begun to return to their rightful place – the individual.


This week Michigan, led by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and the Republican-led state legislature, has put Michigan back on the path to prosperity with the signing of House Bill 4003 and Senate Bill 116.


As a state beset with chronically high unemployment, dying businesses and a shrinking workforce, the legislation signed by Governor Snyder will begin to draw back businesses to a once proud and prosperous area. There is skilled, able and ready populace waiting for the opportunity to prove that they can once again be the Motor City.


Detroit is King.


As the manufacturing hub of the United States for decades following WWII, Michigan saw unprecedented growth. Michigan's population soared from 5.26 million in 1940 to over 9.26 million in 1980. Drawn to the hope and promise of a much better life, millions decided to make Michigan their home. The industrial centers of Detroit and western Michigan grew the most. In fact, with the industrial strength of the auto and related industries, nearly half of all Michigan residents lived in these areas.


The greatest reason for Michigan's meteoric growth was the economic prosperity generated by an optimistic workforce that was the beneficiary of an economy that was both ramped up for war and unaffected by it. As American's came home, they bought cars – and in great numbers.


The booming economic advantage, that America and the industrial powerhouses like Michigan, had allowed labor unions to bargain for the best wages and benefits of any in the world.


Those same great wages, benefits and pensions would be debilitating cargo that would anchor the great ship America on a sand bar as other nations unencumbered by high wages, benefits and pensions rose with the tide and set sail.


The Interregnum; Detroit abdicates the throne.


Aggressive and lean companies from overseas began to eat away at the market share of iconic American companies.


This, of course, led to the loss of many good paying jobs in the auto industry, including the bankruptcy of one of the "Big 3" – Chrysler.


In an effort to protect the dwindling market share, high tariffs were placed on foreign-made vehicles. The foreign auto makers, not willing to give up on the greatest market in the world, decided to move some operations to the United States to avoid the punitive tariffs.


The newest plants opened by car makers have been primarily set up in "right -to-work" states. The auto industry and the satellite companies that are borne of their existence realize the advantages that these states provide.


According to Automobile Magazine the current top 15 assembly plants include seven foreign and eight domestic automaker plants. With the addition of Michigan, 10 of the top 15 plants are now located in “right-to-work” states.


Contrary to many of the reports that "right-to-work" states provide employees with less in the way of salary are misleading. These reports do not take into account any cost-of-living adjustment. In fact "right-to-work" states have seen an economic boom compared to other states. Unemployment is much lower; and, with cost-of-living calculated, employees make as much – if not more – and are less likely to be unemployed.


Return of the King?


Governor Snyder may have just saved Michigan.


With the passage of these bills, individuals will no longer be coerced into joining a union nor have their wages taken against their will. Employees in Michigan now will be able to have true choice.


Because there are fewer burdens in right-to-work states, they have been the beneficiaries of economic growth. Simultaneously, the leadership in states that have fought against the collective in recent years is on the road to both fiscal responsibility and economic prosperity.


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