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Econ Club GR speaker says Right to Work is just the beginning of greater “economic freedom”

January 28, 2013

The speaker at today’s Econ Club of Grand Rapids luncheon event was Dr. Robert Genetski, talking on the topic of Right to Work laws and economic freedom.BobGenetski

In some ways it seems a bit ridiculous to bring a speaker in to talk about Right to Work policies, not just because Michigan has made Right to Work a law, but because Genetski was addressing a predominantly business audience made up of the same circles of people who have been pushing for Right to Work policies for years.

The people who are active members of the Econ Club of Grand Rapids are also some of the same people who are involved in the West Michigan Policy Forum, which has made Right to Work a priority since its founding in 2008.

However, despite Michigan becoming the 24th State to adopt Right to Work Laws, the Econ Club and its members are not content and want to push even further to implement more business-friendly neoliberal economic policies.

This was evident even in the comments by Dick DeVos, who introduced the guest speaker today. DeVos said that it was an “Historic moment when Michigan enacted the Right to Work law and what Michigan did was more expansive than what Indiana and other recent Right to Work states have done.”

DeVos also made it a point to say that “union bosses” will be working hard to renew contracts in the state, since the Right to Work law made it so existing contracts will expire this year. DeVos showed his anti-union bias in the opening remarks and made it clear that the agenda of the Econ Club of Grand Rapids was to continue to work towards changing state policy that will be beneficial for the capitalist class.

Genetski’s presentation was very similar to the one he gave at the West Michigan Policy Forum in September in Grand Rapids. He chose to call Right to Work policies Freedom to Work, because his whole mantra was that the greater economic freedom individuals have, the more prosperous individuals and nations will be.

Genetski didn’t provide much evidence for his position and even stated early on that the kind of free market economy he advocated for is what God wanted for all of us, so we can all be prosperous. Such a statement no doubt played well to the West Michigan business community.3618537795_5afc17a428_o

The speaker looked at Right to Work policies across the country and offered up comparisons between states with those policies and those without and where they were economically. Not surprising Genetski believes that those states with Right to Work laws and more business-friendly tax policies had better economies. Genetski also made it clear that the other factor, which determined economic prosperity, was states that had lower numbers of union members in their workforce.

Michigan, Genetski believes, will be able to turn things around economically when union power is weakened and tax policies will be redone. He blamed the economic problems in Michigan on bad tax policies and union control, but said that under Gov. Snyder things are changing.

Genetski also said he was disturbed by the proposed tax hike for road repair, which he says would raise the state tax rate 17% above the national average. “The state should take the money from other areas instead of new taxes,” which is code for cut spending on social programs and state worker salaries.

Genetski is nothing more than a pundit for the business class and even argues for the privatization of Social Security. None of this should be surprising, since Genetski is an “expert” with the Heartland Institute, a Right Wing Think Tank that is heavily funded by the Koch brothers and promotes the idea that global warming is a hoax.

It is paramount that people who care about economic justice and the future of Michigan, not only understand the deep commitment that the business class has to the acquisition of greater wealth, but factor this understanding into to their strategies for fighting back that go well beyond electoral politics.

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