Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Greed, Hypocrisy, Jobs and the Right to Work

I sit here at the Indiana State House watching the atrium, halls and every corridor start to fill with people. Ostensibly most are here to support workers and families. they do this by, in actuality, opposing legislation that will help create job opportunities for more out of work Hoosiers. A steady stream pours into the state house carrying placards, holding banners or simply appearing clocked in garb displaying allegiance to some particular socialist organization.

The protest has hit a significant controversial point recently when Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced that the number of protestors admitted to the state house would be limited to 3000 for safety reasons. This has brought about the ire or many on all sides of the political spectrum, myself included.

I firmly believe that Mitch Daniels has made a misstep here in that the halls of government should be freely open to all citizens. Occupancy numbers are a legitimate safety concern for any building. However, I am confident that the Indiana State House can easily accommodate in excess of 3000 people and that the move by Daniels was politically motivated. Simply put, that was arbitrary and wrong.

If it isn't already then it should be well understood by politicians and the public at large that the protestors flooding the state house are motivated by greed. They have jobs now and don't want laws put in place that would allow competition in the marketplace and improve the standard of living for many Hoosiers. I just spoke with a lobbyist for the railroad union who candidly said that there are few other jobs where you can get paid $100,000+ per year without a college education. Everything that gets shipped by rail cost us more because of these excessive wages that they are seeking to protect while claiming that as a middle class job. I know attorneys who don't make that much and are trying to pay off college loans at the same time. So there exist a real disconnect between the claims on their placards and the reality of their bottom line. They are not trying to save jobs for the underprivileged, they are the privileged.

Ironically, their position directly contradicts the ideological underpinnings of their political alliances. The very fabric of socialist and communist ideology is denial of individual worth and a collective approach to finance and production. In essence an egalitarian mindset. But given the opportunity to demonstrate compassion for their out-of-work brethren and help bring manufacturing jobs to Indiana they instead have hunkered down in protectionist mode. They currently have jobs and don't want to share the workload with anyone else. But to make matters worse they want to see legislation that would encourage manufacturers to relocate here, blocked.

Other states that have passed similar legislation are already seeing the benefits. As the labour costs in developing nations has increased US companies are again finding domestic production to be cost competitive. As these jobs are returning to the United States they are going to the states that have passed job friendly legislation. But 1000's pour into the state house to keep employment competition from coming here. And so we are presented with the current conundrum -- what to do with the flood of bodies.

I have a personal policy against signing petitions and have railed against their use. It is my belief that petitions generally allow a signor to alleviate themselves of a sense of having to take further action. Numbers count and bodies count. The current protestors know that and that is what they are doing here. At the same time they are arguing that Mitch Daniel's imposition of a body count limit inside the state house is an impediment to their right of redress. I believe that argument is misaligned.

When I was here on Organization Day I listen to the conversation between a few standing next to the Oliver P Morton statue on the East side of the state house. One was saying she thought he must have been a past US President while the other professed to have no knowledge of the person. I interjected that he was the Indiana Governor during the War Between the States. These are people who are here for the purported purpose of communicating with their legislators about their protectionist agenda. I am not saying that one need be a political historian of the State of Indiana but at least appear with some knowledge of the process.

As I roamed the corridors I heard other statements espousing an equal or greater ignorance. It is my firm hope that while standing around here they will avail themselves of the opportunities to learn about all three branches of government represented here. Many were not even seeking direct contact with their representatives. Their presence, while important, was an impediment to those of us actually engaged in the process. I believe they would have better served their cause if they had facilitated the use of the atrium and larger common areas rather that what appeared to be a deliberate effort to crowd doorways and heavily traveled hallways. Today, the crowd, which is smaller seems to be more orderly and less disruptive to the business going on. At noon one of the protest leaders stated that he believed they had 1000 people here. The Indiana State Police provided similar confirmation.

Many people express their opposition to the use of lobbyist but this collection of activated citizens aptly demonstrates the need for such. If, as has been claimed, 10,000 people will be attempting to fill the state house today to oppose job growth legislation then their voices would be better heard by unifying under the voice of their respective lobbyist. The last time they were here their voices were well heard as chants and shouting went on throughout the day. The Indiana State Police are going to attempt to keep that under control today as they should. But even as the legislators meet in session now it is becoming so loud that the speakers in the chambers cannot be heard. The people have a right to peacefully assemble which does not include disrupting those of us conducting business here. They are not gaining sympathy through their disruptive tactics.

But business is what this is all about. These people don't want Indiana businesses to be able to compete for workers. They don't want to share and they don't want to compete with other workers to be able to keep the jobs that they are fortunate enough to have. They have valid reason to be concerned about having to compete for jobs. Just yesterday former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned that the U.S. needed to increase immigration quotas of skilled workers to avoid a slowdown in growth as a result of a drop in productivity growth. Essentially he was saying that US workers are less productive than immigrant workers -- the polite way to say that American workers are lazy. Today some of the worst fill the state house. But also some who eagerly do the jobs that many of you reading wouldn't, are here. Thus the downside of unions -- the lazy are equally rewarded as the diligent and more productive.

Whether you support or oppose this legislation, have no interest in it, or are completely out of the loop please see this as an opportunity to get motivated. I don't agree with the protectionist agenda of the protestors which is costing Indiana potential growth opportunities and leading to higher costs for all of us but I applaud them being here. They are embracing one of the most fundamental rights that we as Americans still have -- the right to petition our government for a redress of our grievances. I hope all of our legislators will feel equally reverent of their duty and not seek to boost the tourism industry of a neighboring state by again abandoning their post here as some did last year.

If you need assistance with employment and productivity or any other life issues then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

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©2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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