Everywhere one looks, there is the clash: the risk-takers and the risk-averse, the dynamists and the stasists, the taxpayers and the welfare recipients, the providers and the takers, the rent seekers and the free marketeers, etc., etc., etc.
Much of this is playing out in the battles over union “rights”–in the right to work vs. union shop states, in the protection racket of the teachers’ unions, and the thuggery of the public sector unions. I have discussed before the opposing messages of the Tea Party and the mobs in Greece and Madison: the former want an end to what the latter are fighting to defend–entitlement and protection. And nothing could be clearer than the Boeing case in South Carolina, the recent NLRB ruling in “streamlining” the union election process, and the NLRB review of business relocation policies in demonstrating the desperation of the union bosses and their fellow travelers in the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.
Where will all this end? Well, for some indication, look at the most recent Chief Executive magazine rankings of the best and worst states for business. Texas was at the top for the seventh consecutive year, and to no surprise, the bottom five were Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois, New York, and California. Of particular interest is that Wisconsin, fresh from its major victory over the protection racket of the teachers union, jumped 17 spots to number 24! What more evidence is needed that the providers, risk-takers, and producers favor the right to work states. In fact, it is the common characteristic among the top ranking states among criteria which also includes tax and regulatory climate, workforce quality, and living environment.
Jobs follow investment, investment requires capital, and capital goes where it is welcomed and stays where it is well-treated. Nothing complicated here. Nor should there be any confusion about why CEOs and corporate boards prefer the Texas-Utah-Florida model over the California-Michigan-New York-New Jersey model.
In an interesting article, Michael Barone writes of liberal nostalgia for what he calls America’s Midcentury Moment, basically a product of World War II that spanned the period from 1940 to the mid-1960s. What characterized this period is the social contract that was manifest in the successful collaboration of big business, big unions, and big government. It served its purpose to win the war and meet the social and economic needs of what was essentially a culturally uniform country, but those days are long gone, however desperately our liberal elites would like to return to them, the model is no longer functional, and they had better get over it.