A Question for Christian Schneider on “Right to Work”

by Jay Bullock

Hi, Christian. Thanks for stopping by to address my question. I appreciate it. You and I obviously disagree on the “Right to Work” bill–I call it the “Right to Freeload” bill–and I’m really hoping you can help me understand where you’re coming from.

I give you credit. A lot of people promoting the “Right to Freeload Work” bill are willing to straight-up lie about it. This includes the people running that Wisconsin Right to Work group, the long-time shady WISGOP operatives who go all the way back to the days of David Wilcox and Mark Block and postcards that broke the law, who are claiming that states with these laws have higher average wages. They don’t. PolitiFact Ohio smacked down a Buckeye State GOPer for trying to claim last year that they did. Ohio passed its bill anyway, and we’ll have to watch to see what happens to their wages–I predict, like Wile E. Coyote, they will plummet.

But you don’t claim that. That’s where I give you credit. Here’s what you say instead:

Any honest assessment of right-to-work recognizes that it’s not a panacea. States with such laws often have lower average wages as unions fade away. But higher employment rates in exchange for wages that aren’t inflated is a deal the state should accept. A slight decline in wages is an acceptable cost if it results in more people getting family-supporting paychecks.

So your point, if I can paraphrase, is that lower wages are basically worth it if we can have lower unemployment. (Although “slight decline” is pushing it: the BLS (pdf) tells us that non-union wages are $10,000 lower than union wages, and non-union jobs have a much higher gender wage gap, for your war on women notes.)

Anyway, that’s where my question comes in: So why does Wisconsin need right to work, then?

I mean, didn’t we just have an election (or three) about Wisconsin’s employment situation, and haven’t you as much as anyone else been telling us all along that Wisconsin’s employment situation is awesome?

Wasn’t that you who wrote that “Walker was … right” about having great jobs numbers on his side? And that Wisconsin’s jobs “jobs have been growing at a reasonable clip”? To give you more credit, and Walker some credit, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is actually lower that the national average and, in fact, lower than that of any of our right-to-work neighbors except Iowa. We’re beating Indiana just fine and spanking Michigan in that regard. If you insist on counting Ohio, we’re basically tied with them.

If Wisconsin is doing fine in the jobs department, especially since we’re doing better than most of the right-to-work states near us and like us, why do we need to change anything? Is there much room for growth in jobs here, or are we really just talking about cutting wages for those already working?

Or, given that the neighbor state that is doing the best in this regard, Minnesota (3.9% unemployment versus our 5.4%), is both not a right to freeload work state but a liberal haven that raised taxes and the minimum wage and embraced the agenda of the teachers union, wouldn’t it be smarter to model our state on their success rather than Indiana’s failure?

Also, wasn’t it you who insisted, seriously and sarcastically, that there’s actually not much the government could actually do to create jobs? Didn’t you say that “before trying to legislate its way to higher employment, the state needs to rectify some cultural and demographic trends” that make quick jumps in employment unlikely to happen regardless of what legislation gets passed? How do you square your support of right to work with that sensible assessment of Wisconsin’s reality?

Okay, Christian, that was, I suppose, more than one question. But if you could help us out and try to explain yourself, I would appreciate it, and I bet the rest of the BloggingBlue readership would as well. Thanks!


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17 thoughts on “A Question for Christian Schneider on “Right to Work”

  1. Jay! Nice to see that after walker beat your assess in the last election based on our strong jobs numbers and low unemployment that you are willing to admit to that fact. All we heard last election is that or job numbers sucked…. either they sucked and right to work night be just the infusion we need. Or the numbers didn’t suck and you guys are a bunch of liars!

    1. Chris, I’m not saying I’m a liar. The data are clear that Wisconsin lags its neighbors–Minnesota in particular–in job growth since the end of the recession. Right to Work isn’t the solution, as Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio confirm.

      It’s your side who has said all along that we’re doing great, which makes me wonder why you want to pursue a policy that explicitly cuts workers’ wages.

      1. So you are saying we are lagging in job growth? If that is the case trying something new might do the trick. Do you think it is ok to cherry pick Minnesota to make your point? All we heard all election was how much better ALL OUR MIDWEST NEIGHBORS were doing with job creation. Now only the non right to work states are worth mentioning… hmmm. Curious

        1. Chris, demographically speaking Minnesota is really our closest comparison.

          The fact that they raised the minimum wage and raised taxes and ended up with an unemployment rate a full point and a half lower than our fair state’s certainly merits a long, hard look at how we could emulate their success, don’t you think?

          1. We already tried the raise taxes thinggy under doyle… didn’t work out so well… matter of fact his failed policies started the landslide of republican victors in Wisconsin politics. Simply being our neighbour and close in size doesn’t make us the same. How many Milwaukee’s do they have. That city raises of murder rate, dropout rate, unemployment rate underemployment rate…..

            1. Chris,

              You wrote : “We already tried the raise taxes thinggy

              Was that a typo, or are you trying to sound cute?

              You wrote: “under doyle… didn’t work out so well…”

              Wrong again!

              Gov. Walker’s lowering taxes on the elites and running a deficit.

              “Scott Walker’s adminstration facing $2.2 billion deficit heading into 2015-17 budget cycle”


              You wingnuts still don’t get it. Unlike the federal government, state and local governments have to have a “balanced” budget. State and local taxes are the only hedge we have against Washington’s control. #Chrislovesbiggovernment

              Chris wrote: “matter of fact his failed policies started the landslide of republican victors in Wisconsin politics.”

              Love that you forgot to capitalize the “R” in Republican. #lazy

              So now that Gov. Walker has FOUR more years to meet his job goal of 250,000 new jobs, when will he make it? Or do I get to rib you about it for the next FOUR years?

              Thank Goodness Wisconsin Turned Down High Speed Rail!

              From “Fast trains, supply networks, and firm performance” in VoxEU:

              We find that sales and measured productivity rose substantially for firms near the new (high speed rail) stations after the opening. Firms in industries with greater purchased input shares outperformed firms in industries with lower purchased input shares.

              So Wisconsin dodged the fate of having higher firm productivity.

              The report is authored by Bernard, Moxnes, and Saito.


              Only reason you wingnuts are winning elections is because you’re doing the bidding of the oligarchs. You’ve got all the money.

              Chris wrote: “Simply being our neighbour and close in size doesn’t make us the same. How many Milwaukee’s do they have. That city raises of murder rate, dropout rate, unemployment rate underemployment rate…..”

              Glad you support ending the job-killing-government-regulations against marijuana. Why aren’t Walker and the GOP controlled legislature moving on such an obvious solution to his deficit problem.

      2. Thanks for reading CS so we don’t have to, Jay. 😉

        Your linked ‘On Milwaukee’ piece is excellent as is this one.

  2. Raising taxes!!!!

    High speed rail!!!!



    Burke should have ran on raising taxes like Illinois, high speed rail like the boondoggle California is going for, and pot!!!

    She would have won for sure!!!

    You see, we just had an election and none of these brilliant ideas were brought up… must be those rich oligarchs… Ashley oligarchs, Damn them they are so smart!

    1. Chris wages war on sentences and falls in love with exclamation points! Gee, I guess he’s trying dodge the question, how many more years will it take for Gov. Walker to reach his goal of 250,000 new jobs?

      Second request.

      If Gov. Walker is against the oligarchs, please provide a LINK to any statement he has ever made against the Trans Pacific Partnership aka “NAFTA on steroids?”

      “Obama makes legacy play on trade”

      “…The trade deal would deliver a tangible achievement that a GOP-controlled Senate is highly likely to endorse and demonstrate that Obama has the diplomatic chops to pull off a complex, multilateral deal akin to playing three-dimensional chess….”


      Congrats Chris, you’re helping to destroy what’s left of Wisconsin’s manufacturing base. Where will the good paying jobs come from after we import everything?

      While you wingnuts were crying Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, the oligarchs were cementing their plans to crush U.S. manufacturing. Best of luck with national defense when you don’t make the stuff you need to fight.

  3. John, if we get all the unemployed and underemployed high that’s going to solve our work force problem in Milwaukee… pssst. They are already…

    1. Chris,

      psssst, since you support the job-killing-government-regulations against marijuana, do you also want to bring back the prohibition on alcohol?

  4. Wow, no… I suppose we should start growing poppy as well John.

    But the evil oligarchs would probably stop us. Damn oligarchs.

    1. Chris, it was probably by accident, but you actually got something right. “Damn oligarchs.”

      You’re a major supporter of the nanny state, big intrusive government, and Obamacare. You hate the Second Amendment and want Washington telling Americans what they can and can’t buy. Reasonable people can disagree about regulating heroin. I don’t see that same space when it comes to marijuana/hemp.

      Yes, Big Pharma will lose a lot of money if marijuana’s legalized. A lot of their drugs are more expensive and don’t work as well. http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2012/04/27/the-smoke-and-mirrors-of-the-legalization-debate/

      Since the oligarchs own large sections of the Big Pharma oligopoly, they stand to lose a lot when marijuana’s legalized.

      Chris, why do you keep dodging this question?

      “How many more years will it take for Gov. Walker to reach his goal of 250,000 new jobs?”

      3rd request.

      Are you having trouble finding a link where Gov. Walker opposes President Obama’s plans to to destroy Wisconsin manufacturing?

  5. John! I didn’t realize I was a fan of all those things! I guess I love Obama, wow I never new!

    Not sure how many years it will take… guess I don’t really care. Walkers broader policies are what I like. Given time the jobs will come.


    Won’t the evil oligarchs just start growing all of that pot? Our are they took stupid to take over that industry as well… UH OH JOHN… I bet they will!

    Oligarchs!!! Oligarchs!!! Fight fight fight!!! Sounds like a good football chant!!!

    1. Chris, you can’t take responsibility for anything can you?

      They’re your lazy, undisciplined comments, but you always have time to blame it on something.

      My favorite was, “took stupid.”

      Thanks for making wingnuts look bad. I guess Americans Against Prosperity or whoever pays you, doesn’t do much quality control on your comments. Another thought is that Mike Tate’s paying you to make the GOP look “took stupid.”

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