The President cast his lot with the unions in Michigan. IMAGE: Reuters
Campaigning in Michigan to build pressure on Republicans to cave on fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama tore into the state's new "Right to Work" law, which disarms the political power of unions. The bill was voted through by Michigan's Republican legislature, and it will make it harder for Democrats to compete for state office. Obama's critique of the law fired up the crowd:
What we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages. These so-called right-to-work laws, they don't have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. [They're about] giving you the right to work for less money.
Here's what "Right to Work" laws do: prevent union employees with public contracts from paying union dues. That means that the union then has no money to be active in politics and support candidates who are almost all Democratic. Whether or not there is an economic argument for this (and that argument is sketchy), it is disingenuous for Michigan Republicans to keep repeating that this is all about the economy, when the driving force behind this is clearly political. It's a rerun of the voter ID laws that swept through Republican-controlled states following the 2010 elections which are clearly designed to, among other things, make it harder for Democrat-leaning groups to vote.