Monday, September 04, 2006

Western Civilization: Too Fat and Too Happy To Care About Labor Unions

I grew up in Michigan in a anti-union car family. Why anti-union? Because the blue collar guys got better pay, better hours, and better retirement than the low to mid-level white collar stiffs. The union's M.O. has been no-compromise or death, and big surprise: they're dying. Going down the toilet with them is the communities that built themselves around the plants.

I lived near Flint when it still thrived. I have been in Flint since it died. It's haunting in a Batman movie way. Flint is bleak and dark and ominous and threatening and depressed and hopeless. Michigan, the state, isn't too far behind.

Now, I live near Houston, Texas. It is everything Flint, Michigan is not. Houston is busy and bright and optimistic and growing and happy and hopeful. People at all income levels work. People can afford to buy homes (the property taxes are oppressive, but no state income tax). New business relocates to the area all the time and for good reason: high quality of life, low cost of living and you can get a job.

There aren't a lot of government services in Texas. If you are mentally ill, lazy, disabled, or hard on your luck, you won't find much in the way of social services in Houston. You'll have to stay in Michigan or move to New York or San Francisco or Minneapolis for that. If you want to work, though, Houston is yours for the taking and people are taking it.

Much is being made in certain places about wages and inflation. I think that one part of that equation is that the population is moving to where business is moving: to locales that have less punitive tax structures and more freedom (less zoning, less rules, regulations and annoying bureaucracy). People can make less and live better.

Some Labor Day statistics here.

Instapundit has a great wrap-up on Labor Day stuff.

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