Tennessee Whiskey Goes Down Smoother than European WHINE
As a Tennessean, born and raised, and having spent the past four years working in California, it was impossible not to respond to this recent article in the British online publication, New Statesman. This article outlines the growing need for minimum wage hikes and big labor influence around the developed world and the key battles across the United States—including California and here in Tennessee.
At the start of the year a ballot in a car factory in Tennessee saw auto-workers vote against union representation despite the owner, Volkswagen, remaining resolutely neutral (highly unusual in these cases). It was a crushing blow to the auto-workers union as this was thought to be their best hope of gaining traction in the South.
The New Statesman’s European sensibilities were clearly ruffled by the Volunteer state’s victory over the UAW, but seemed encouraged by California and other states’ calls to cater to big labor and the pressures to raise the minimum wage.
At the same time the service workers union in the North West of the US mobilised public opinion in order to trigger then win a referendum in support of a $15 minimum wage in the small Seattle suburb of SeaTac. Since then they’ve built on this by working with the newly elected mayor of the city to secure the commitment for $15, a move that is creating ripples in San Francisco, LA and other cities.
What they conveniently excluded were these inconvenient truths: -The Tax Foundation ranks California 47th out of 50 in their 2014 Rich States, Poor States publication -California ranks 48th out of 50 states for business climate -Conversely, Tennessee finished 3rd out of 50 states in Chief Executive magazine’s 2014 Best & Worst States for Business—California finished 3rd…from last place. The Chief Executive editors also note:
[California’s] top, marginal tax rate of 33 percent is the third-highest tax rate in the industrialized world, behind only Denmark and France… 2,565 California businesses with three or more employees have relocated to other states between January 2007 and 2011, and 109,000 jobs left with those employers. As one CEO commented, “personal income tax rates and too much ‘big government’ regulation…public employee unions dominate California to its detriment.
California may insist on being an incubator of decline and find increasing commonality other European nations bent towards socialist agendas, but the proof of their follies is in the figgy pudding. Meanwhile, let’s toast to economic prosperity over some good Tennessee whiskey while big labor, minimum wage hike enthusiasts continue to drown in barrels of whine. -Lindsay Boyd