Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yaron Brook on the Obamacare Decision

The Ayn Rand Institute's Yaron Brook says it best:

In part: "There is a consistent view across the entire political map that we have no rights when it comes to our economic life. It's just a question of where they want to draw the line, how they want to regulate, how they want to play around at the margins. What is needed today in America is a revolution--a moral revolution, a political revolution. The fundamental is a notion of individual rights, that we have a right to live our lives as we see fit, that we have a right to buy insurance or not buy insurance. We have a right to choose from a bunch of insurance options that a free market would provide. The insurance companies have a right to provide all kinds of insurance products to us. We have to fight for economic rights of individuals, of businesses, of corporations. We have to fight for the principle of economic freedom. We have to fight for true free markets, ultimately for real separation of state from economics. Anything short of that ultimately leads to this kind of decision, to a slippery slope, to a systematic erosion of our freedoms. Toward a free market revolution, that's what we should be fighting for."

It's going to be a long fight, but well worth it. I'm excited about November. A big part of that battle is going to be undoing the damage Republicans have done in their appointments to the Supreme Court.

See also a rundown of critical commentary by the Left Coast Rebel.

On the legal aspects of the decision, check out Scotusblog (here and here).

Lastly, Temple of Mut's "if you like your death panels, you can keep your death panel."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Collective Bargaining Lost in Wisconsin

Great news from Wisconsin last night. The attempted recall of Gov. Scott Walker failed by a good margin (7%). If you hadn't heard, this was a referendum on collective bargaining, which Walker has significantly curtailed for public employees. The state is better off. Employees are better off. The unions, not so much.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to remind you that the 'right' to collective bargaining is just like any other entitlement. It is an entitlement on the part of unions to be heard and negotiated with by employers. Collective bargaining' forces employers to negotiate with employees by virtue of their having banded together into a group.

In a rational world employees would have the right to associate, but not to force recognition. They'd have the right to charge dues, but not to compel dues. They'd be able to post notices, but only if they got the permission of whomevers property they wanted to post on. They'd have the right to hold elections (privately or with permission), but not to compel access to employee records.

In brief, there would be unions in a free country, but its unlikely they would be overly adversarial towards employers. The employers would have the right to simply not recognize the union, fire its leaders, fire all its members, prohibit any communication on company property regarding the union, etc. All rights anyone has when hiring others, i.e. the rights to associate and contract as he sees fit. More likely unions would function to speak for employees on topics of interest to employers, perhaps negotiate on behalf of employees regarding pay schedules, raise concerns, etc. I would be very surprised if an employer would ever require union membership as a condition of employment, though it would be his right to do so (contra "right-to-work" laws).

What about public employees? For public employment the issue is somewhat more complicated: laws regarding public employment function like voluntary employment policies do in the private sector. You could argue that governments have a right to set the terms of employment just like private companies do. Except for the fact that the ultimate employer/owner is actually the taxpayer. Any policy the government adopts that isn't required by the status of the labor market amounts to welfare for government employees. They should be payed the salaries and benefits necessary to obtain a quality workforce, but no more. If the government can obtain quality employees without any aspect of collective bargaining (exclusive union representation, forced dues, closed shop hiring), then it should do so. Experience says that collective bargaining is an impediment to obtaining quality employees.