Recently a writer in the Las Cruces Sun-News argued that claims the Rio Grande Foundation made are “hollow” like a chocolate Easter Bunny.
While it is true that data can be twisted in ways that make worker freedom look like it lowers incomes (it also lowers living costs) the reality is that people keep moving to “right to work” states. I discuss in a recent letter to the editor:
People are moving to right-to-work states
Chuck Barrett clearly is not a fan of “right to work” and my organization’s efforts to bring such laws to New Mexico.
He cites data from the Economic Policy Institute which he acknowledges is a union-funded organization to assert that “right to work” laws reduce incomes. Even Barrett acknowledges, however, that “right to work” laws do reduce unemployment.
In the real world we already know that New Mexico is a low-wage, slow-growing, high-unemployment state. It is surrounded by “right to work” states (with the exception of Colorado’s which has laws best described as not fully “right to work,” but not as pro-union as New Mexico.
We also have real-world federal data showing that Las Cruces has a 50% higher unemployment rate than “right to work” El Paso. And, since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009, El Paso has seen job growth of 13.3% while Las Cruces has grew by just 1.6%.
Ultimately, the best way to cut through the data is to consider where people are moving. After all, if “right to work” is so awful, people will avoid it, right? But, when it comes to population growth “right to work” wins hands-down. Between 2010 and 2016 “right to work” states grew by 6.2% while the others grew by a mere 3.3%. Virtually any time period yields the same result with people flocking to “right to work” states over time.
“Right to work” laws are not a panacea. New Mexico’s problems are long-term and deep. But you have to start somewhere. Rather than waiting for the Legislature to act, we are working county by county to make New Mexico a little freer.
President, Rio Grande Foundation