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I Know, We’re Shocked. Unions Lying in Right-to-Work Critique

Great pick up from the guys across the lake at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (Disclaimer: I have friends there.).  Seems that the union talking point that “states with right-to-work laws earn less” is done by fudging the numbers.

Over the years, Big Labor has intentionally done them while wholeheartedly ignoring one factor: The cost of living between different places in the country.  (H/T RedState)

Scores of right-to-work critics ranging from politicians to economists have cited lower per-capita incomes in right-to-work states as why the new law is not good for Michigan.

However, not factoring in cost-of-living exposes a flaw in that analysis, said Mackinac Center for Public Policy Fiscal Analyst James Hohman. Once that is considered, Hohman said the per-capita income is higher in right-to-work states than non-right-to-work states.

For example, Texas per-capita income was $37,098 but would have a purchasing power of $49,700 in the state of New York in 2007, according to Hohman’s analysis. New York’s per-capita income was $47,852.

Hohman found that in terms of Michigan dollars in 2000, right-to-work states had 4.1 percent higher per-capita personal incomes than non-right-to-work states when factoring in cost of living. Michigan was considered a non-right-to-work state because the law was passed in late December 2012. Hohman said the right-work-states didn’t surpass non-right-to-work states until 2003.

“One of the most basic arguments repeated time and time again by right-to-work opposition is that Michigan is going to lose income by passing this law,” Hohman said. “That just isn’t the case. When you adjust for what a dollar can get you, the difference reverses itself.”

Hohman used the cost of living index done by political scientists William Berry, Richard Fording and Russell Hanson. They adjusted for cost-of-living in every state from 1960 to 2007.

A dollar buys differently in different locations.  Gas prices vary from place to place, as do any other commodity; even groceries.

Any economist knows this, and for unions to not just hide this information, but outright lie about it is a disservice to both themselves and their members.

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