Claims by union proponents that union-shop states beget higher incomes forget one little detail: the cost of living.
A study by the the Mackinac Center for Public Policy states that when adjusting for per-capita personal income — a standard measure of a state’s wealth — the difference between right-to-work and non-right-to-work states disappears. In addition to higher incomes, the study argues, right-to-work states also added more jobs and have lower unemployment.
The Mackinac Center cites Connecticut, the state with the highest per-capita personal income. A dollar just doesn’t buy as much in Connecticut as it does in Michigan, with the price of goods being significantly more expensive in Hartford than Ann Arbor. It also argues that a typical home in Connecticut costs $334,000, while an average home in Michigan costs three times less at $110,633.
The report follows an attack on Michigan’s right-to-work law by President Obama, who framed the measure as anti-worker.
“These so-called right-to-work laws, they don’t have to do with economics — they have everything to do with politics,” Mr. Obama said during a Michigan stop in December. “What they’re really doing is trying to talk about the right to work for less money.”
When adjusting for the cost of living, the Mackinac Center found that people in right-to-work states have higher incomes than in non-right-to-work states. Also, since 2001, right-to-work states added a net 1.7 million jobs to their payrolls, while non-right-to-work states lost 2.1 million jobs. A net 400,000 people moved from non-right-to-work to right-to-work states in just the past two years.