• Improving Life for Workers

      My column this week explains why government and unions don't improve working conditions. Wages are best determined by the market.

      But without a minimum wage or union protection, wouldn't employers abuse workers? In a real free market, no, they can't. Because workers have choices. Employers have an incentive to maintain a good relationship with employees -- one that keeps them reasonably loyal -- because workers can quit and go work for a rival.

      If globalism leads to a "race to the bottom," why do 95 percent of American workers make more than minimum wage? It's not because companies are generous, but because competition forces them to offer higher wages to attract good workers. Companies may move jobs overseas to escape high U.S. wages (or U.S. taxes and regulations), but they clearly prefer to keep jobs here, close to their headquarters, suppliers and customers.

      It's not just regulation and government minimums that kill opportunity. Union work rules do it, too. I experienced some earlier in my career.

      When I arrived at CBS, I was stunned to discover that I couldn't even watch a video in a tape player without risking a grievance being filed by a union editor, saying I'd encroached on his job. Work ground to a halt while we waited for a union specialist to press the 'on' button. ABC and CBS, being private businesses that had to compete, eventually got rid of those rules. But it took years.

      You can read the rest of my column here.

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