Right-to-work illusions

In his opinion, “Live free or drive,” (May 19 A-T) John Stossel argues that if you live and work in a state with low or no income taxes and under “right-to-work” laws, you can be rich. The Goldwater (as in Barry Goldwater) Institute supports the view of Mr. Stossel.

On the other hand, in many such high-opportunity states, economic, social and health condition are less than attractive. For examples, in Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut, average incomes are higher, health and social problems are fewer.

Also, in (right-to-work) states with lower average incomes, health and social problems are more prevalent, as in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky.

The 2010 book, “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, deals with income inequality and its ills, comparing our states and other nations with each other. A complex matter, the issue of their thesis deserves studying and involving oneself and others.

The ideology of right-to-work weakens employees’ ability to improve their incomes and working conditions. This ideology bespeaks the bias of many with power and influence against the rights of those paid much less to be more fairly compensated with more adequate incomes and services. Where most employees are seen as undeserving of better pay and benefits, many owners, executives and pundits are believed, by each other, by reactionary politicians and by millions who admire them, including people who suppose, if they move to states where income taxes are low or none (and public services are weaker), they too can “get rich,” as Mr. Stossel concludes. But this illusory belief is not borne out by experience of many.

George Reid Marsh