A popular talking point used by organized labor to push for the Employee Free Choice Act — eliminating secret ballots in the workplace — was that drastic action was needed to address the rising wealth gap, the increase in income inequality. Only by making it easier for people to join (or rather, be intimidated into joining) unions would higher wages be possible, or so the argument went. (This column by the union-funded Economic Policy Institute is a case in point.)
Trouble for that argument is that even the underlying factual basis, the existence of a growing income gap, is highly debatable. Congressman Jim Saxton (R-NJ), the ranking member on the Joint Economic Committee, issued a news release Wednesday that provided lots of interesting data:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to a key Census Bureau measure, income inequality was essentially unchanged between 2001 and 2006. In response to a request by the Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee, a statistical test performed by the Census Bureau earlier this week confirms that no statistically significant change in the inequality measure occurred between 2001 and 2006. The measure referred to here is the Gini coefficient, a standard gauge of income inequality published by the Census Bureau and widely used by economists and other researchers. The Census Bureau released the 2006 income data on August 28, 2007.
“Despite all the discussion about income inequality, the fact is that it hasn’t changed in recent years, according to the Census Bureau measure,” ranking Joint Economic Committee member Congressman Jim Saxton said today. “Congress should consider this fact before acting on the assumption that income inequality is surging.”
So really, supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act want to deprive people of a secret workplace ballot so they can be bullied into joining an organization they don’t want to join in pursuit of income leveling based on suspect data.
A tough sell, don’t you think?
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