Conservatives Piling On

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Often, conservatives realize that something is amiss about the political status quo, but opt for a quick fix, and often one that actually compounds a bad situation. For example, the blog, Fixing California correctly identifies a problem: public sector labor unions misusing members' dues for political lobbying or campaigning. The proposed solution disappoints:

The reform, known by the shorthand of "paycheck protection," typically requires unions to have the permission of individual members before their dues are used for anything but collective bargaining.
Several major problems immediately leap into my mind about the law. Among these problems are: (1) The Supreme Court has already ruled that at least part of what this proposed new law is supposed to prohibit is illegal; (2) The law seems ripe for being undermined by whatever some court or future legislature might decide falls under the umbrella of "collective bargaining", since public sector unions are ultimately dealing with the same entity, be it by traditional negotiations or political maneuvering; and (3) Why not at least float the idea of repealing the laws that coerce individual employees and governments into having to deal with these unions in the first place?

Like various "right to work" laws, this proposal is a misguided attempt to remedy one violation of rights with another. What is really needed is to repeal the rights-violating laws that have caused this mess in the first place, as Ari Armstrong of the TOS Blog made clear some time ago when he commented on Indiana's "right to work" law:
The conservative solution ... merely compounds previous violations of freedom of contract with new ones, apparently on the grounds that two wrongs somehow make a right. In [this] view, the bill is good because it "prohibits contracts requiring workers to pay union dues." But why should the government be in the business of setting the terms of employment contracts? Employers should be free to hire whomever they want on whatever terms the parties mutually agree to accept.
There is no fundamental difference between the government butting in to prohibit the payment of union dues and the government butting in to dictate how they are spent. Both of these "solutions" violate the right to contract.

Rather than joining the "progressive" left in piling layer upon layer of government meddling onto the backs of individual citizens, conservatives should work to remove such layers on the principle that they violate individual rights.

-- CAV

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