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December 11, 2012

In Which We Agree With Obama

We've got to hand it to him: when he's right, he's right:

Right-to-work laws are "giving you the right to work for less money," Obama said in his speech at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant.

Damned straight. That is precisely what right to work laws guarantee: that I get to decide when the pay offered to me by a prospective employer is acceptable... to me.

If I'm a single mother who is about to be evicted and a low paying job will keep me and my children from being thrown out on the streets, I should be "allowed" to accept that job and that wage. I shouldn't be forced to hold out for more money if less money now is what I really need.

Right to work laws are about giving workers control over their own lives. They're about freedom of choice.

When I was a young Marine wife, jobs were almost impossible to get in most military towns. This was doubly true if the cost of child care was added into the mix. But I had the right to offer child care from my home for the paltry sum of $1.00 per child, per hour. I doubt that would be possible now, but it was a great deal - both for me and for the struggling families who hired me to care for their children. It was the right service, at the right price, made possible because back then, government wasn't busy interfering in our lives and protecting us from choices that don't have the federal stamp of approval.

I had the 'right' to offer to paint my neighbor's house for $400. He got a great deal and I got lots of repeat business and - because of the low price - the freedom to work on MY schedule: a schedule that put the needs of my 5 and 2 year old ahead of finishing his house quickly. Both he and I were delighted with the arrangement.

Neither of these jobs paid a living wage, but I didn't need a living wage. What I needed was just enough money to send my oldest boy to private school, and I thank God that I had the freedom to decide for myself how much money and what working conditions were acceptable.

Workers are not all created equal. Nor do they have equal needs and goals. Some work to survive, some work purely for the pleasure of working, and some work so they can afford a few extras like better schools for their children or a family vacation. Americans should have the freedom to decide these matters for themselves.

Posted by Cassandra at December 11, 2012 07:26 AM

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"...the right to work for less money."

As opposed to his apparent preference, the right to be unemployed at a fair and equitable salary.

Posted by: Grim at December 11, 2012 03:11 PM