Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why are there no "Right to Ranch" states?

Here's another installment in the right-to-free-ride discussion. Sometimes it's useful to consider hypothetical extreme cases when discussing a proposed law. Imagine that we took non-right-to-free-ride states and added the following conditions:

If you refuse to make payments to the union representing you, you will NOT be allowed to:

1. go and work for a non-union shop;

2. move to a right-to-free-ride state;

3. go into business for yourself.

You will, in other words, not be allowed to ply your trade under any circumstances unless you pay these fees. What would the Republican position be on these policies? How might conservative justices like Scalia and Thomas rule on the laws?

I turns out that you don't need to speculate because this isn't a hypothetical. If you're an American beef producer, you pay a fee to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association for every head of cattle you sell. You are required to fund lobbying and advertising campaigns ("Beef, it's what's for dinner"). What's more, the Supreme Court upheld the fee in an opinion authored by Justice Scalia.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, this was never about workers' rights. It was and is about one party using legislation to remove funding from the other party. Talking about it in any other terms is an insult to our intelligence.

And frankly, my intelligence is getting damned pissed off.

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