Obama’s labor overseers attempt to make serfs of corporate citizens

For those thinking the march to serfdom was taking just too darn long, this month brings great news: Progressive bureaucrats have begun to get on board with more policies from their economic godfathers, like the Roman Emperor Diocletian (245 A.D. – 313 A.D.). Yes, it’s just like those scalawags, always trying some new idea.

I say this because, just like our old friend Diocletian, progressives are literally trying to tie business and workers to the land, by attempting to prohibit a private company from moving its business and probably part of its workforce to another state.

Boeing Aircraft has grown tired of the work environment and union strikes in the state of Washington, where workers can be compelled to join a union, and wants to move part of its business to the legally guaranteed right-to-work state of South Carolina.

A complaint was filed by the National Labor Relations Board presumes the creative idea that by moving operations from a state where a law can require a union work place to a state that does not have that ability amounted to retaliation by the company against the union, which is not permissible under labor laws.

If the NLRB is able to enforce an edict that prevents the company from moving its operations, it will have effectively tied a business and workers to a specific piece of land to satisfy the needs of a government entity and, of course, its political supporters.

There is a name for this. Eventually we called it feudalism. I suppose the next step will be to require people to engage in the same professions as their parents — to aid in economic planning.

Diocletian did these things for much the same reasons as our present government — rising inflation, a debased currency, movement of citizens away from the hard work of rural life to subsidized cities and tradesmen moving to accommodate disastrous economic policies and taxation.

Attempts to supervise the laws of economics didn’t work then and most assuredly won’t work now. However, we don’t have to go back to the 3rd century to see the difference between areas that allow flexible workforce choices by employees and those that can use the power of the state to compel unionization.

This week, the office of U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R- S.C., released a study demonstrating that states where workers were allowed to make individual choices on whether to join a union had markedly better economic results.

Those states created more jobs had faster income growth and created new businesses at a faster rate than their more oppressive peers. The study showed that while these right-to-work states accounted for only 40 percent of the U.S. population they created 59 percent of new private sector businesses and 1.3 million more new private sector jobs between 1993 and 2009.

Those figures probably don’t influence decisions by the NLRB since, in addition to reasons such as our old Roman emperor had for doing these things, President Barack Obama has debts he needs to repay to labor unions, which spent over $450 million getting he and other Democrats elected in 2008.

One way he did this was by making a controversial appointment to the NLRB last March, during the congressional recess to prevent the Senate giving an imperial thumbs down to his nominee, Craig Becker.

Becker was the associate general counsel for both the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union. The move was denounced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but will stand until the end of the next congressional session, when Becker will be forced to undergo Senate confirmation.

This radical shift appears to be something which will continue, according to a May 10 memorandum from the NLRB’s counsel, indicating a desire by the board to increase the requirement for businesses to bargain with unions prior to moving to another state, if labor costs were a factor.

This kind of interference undermines not only economic prosperity but the constitutional concept of federalism, where citizens both individual and corporate can choose under which state’s policies they wish to conduct business.

When Diocletian reached to the right of an individual to move freely for his trade, he finally erased the lingering fiction of the concept of a citizen and substituted for it, that of a subject. This is the wage of lost individualism.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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