Will Horsehead Get the NLRB’s Boeing Treatment?

Horsehead Corporation has announced plans to move a big part of its operations from Beaver County to Rutherford County North Carolina. That move will involve building a $350 million dollar facility in Carolina and the possible loss of as many as 500 jobs in Beaver County.

The company, in explaining the decision, mentioned utility costs, logistics and development incentives. It did not mention the fact that North Carolina is a Right to Work state. Probably for good reason. In all likelihood, the union in Beaver County is already in the process of asking the NLRB to file a stop order (a la Boeing in Charleston) to prevent the plant from moving. Surely, as imaginative as the NLRB is-as it is currently constituted-will have no problem coming up with an unfair labor practice charge of some kind to justify issuing such an order.

Pennsylvania needs to make company moves of this type less attractive by enacting a Right to Work law. The state cannot depend on a new discovery of a valuable natural resource every time it needs an economic boost. Marcellus Shale might be godsend but it should be viewed as an opportunity to remove obstacles to growth in the state, not an excuse to delay doing what is right.

More Silly Economic Thinking in the ‘Burgh

According to the Post- Gazette followers of Paul Krugman’s school of incoherent economics, the cause of our country’s slow economic growth is inadequate government spending and the unwillingness to levy higher taxes. Their silliness is encapsulated in the assertion that cutting spending will cost some Federal government workers their jobs, thereby worsening the nation’s jobs picture. Apparently, the geniuses who came up with that gem have never noticed that the bigger the Federal civilian payroll the weaker the nation’s private sector ability to create activity and new jobs.

Here is the sad truth. The U.S. has been under the whip hand of massive deficit spending for three years as well as the most "stimulative" monetary policy imaginable. And still the economy languishes with subpar growth and ongoing large layoff announcements. Granted, the housing collapse and the attendant financial crisis of 2008 meant recovery would take longer and be more difficult than a typical recession.

However, the President and the Democrat controlled House and Senate opted to begin piling huge new regulations on the economy through constitutionally questionable Obamacare, the EPA and the NLRB that, taken together, have acted as a massive anchor on the economy. The administration’s fealty to organized labor was demonstrated through the terms of the auto company bailouts, support for Card Check, refusal to denounce the goonish tactics of labor unions in Madison Wisconsin, and more recently the insanely destructive NLRB ruling on the Boeing Company’s plans to open a manufacturing facility in South Carolina. Regardless of how the courts eventually rule, this NLRB-and by definition Obama supported-action has cast a pall over the nation’s free enterprise system. Nothing can be more chilling to business investment than the prospect of government agencies telling companies they cannot locate legally in a state of their choosing.

The unwillingness of proponents of ever more spending and taxes to realize the damage already being done by that approach and their inability to link the heavy handedness of government regulators and burdensome regulations to the increasing caution of business people to invest or hire new workers or retain existing workers speaks to an ideological blindness of monumental proportions. Sadly, decades of programs that have made a large fraction of Americans dependent on government or the beneficiaries of government regulations, along with the fact that 50 percent of citizens pay no income tax, have created a huge voting bloc who are completely vested in keeping government growing in size and scope.

As noted in a blog last week, handout and entitlement programs can be sustained only by having a growing private sector economy capable of producing adequate tax revenues at low tax rates that do not threaten after tax rates of return on investment. Failure to recognize the need to strengthen and encourage the free enterprise system through a better set of tax and regulatory policies will inevitably be the nation’s undoing as a republic of free people.

Boeing, Boeing, Gone

The National Labor Relations Board, in a spasm of uncontrollable zealousness, has told Boeing it cannot locate a plant in South Carolina because it is unfair and harmful to the workers at plants in Washington State. It is not unreasonable to argue that, if allowed to stand, this NLRB ruling will have an incalculably harmful effect on the future of American industry and the U.S. economy. The precedent will have been set for the government telling businesses where in the country they can locate operations. Piled on top of all the other onerous regulations businesses already face and the high corporate tax rate in the U.S., this new government power will chase even more investment and jobs out of the country-an ineffably stupid and inexcusable self-inflicted wound.

Unfortunately, the Boeing episode is just one more manifestation of the virulently aggressive anti-business, anti-free market posture of the current administration and its agency appointees. It reflects a bias towards ever bigger, more intrusive government and overt, unquestioning loyalty to unions. Coming on the heels of extravagant and dangerous spending, running up massive deficits, curtailing domestic oil exploration, failing to safeguard the southern border, the union favoring bailout of GM and Chrysler and the passage of Obama’s health care bill, the interference with Boeing’s freedom to invest where it sees fit reveals an undisguised contempt for the rule of law and freedom. It also indicates the utter disdain the administration holds for states that did not vote for it or that might be unwilling to vote for it in 2012. Is it even imaginable that the NLRB would have issued the ruling against Boeing if the new plant was being constructed in Illinois or California?

Like the proposed card check law-arrogantly and flagrantly dishonestly called the freedom of choice act by the bill’s authors-the Boeing decision is an attempt to run roughshod over those who have shown a willingness and ability to stand up to unions and successfully push back. If not defeated, these actions will lead to the wholesale destruction of property rights and freedom in the country. And the result will be fewer jobs, not more, a weaker and far less competitive economy. Qui bono? Who gains from such an outcome? In their minds, it will be the party that promises to take care of everyone’s needs even though it will be rapidly running out of resources to do so.

The NLRB ruling on Boeing could be the nation’s economic Rubicon. The willingness of the administration’s justice department to ignore truly egregious cases of law breaking while suing states that are trying to protect their own citizens from what amounts to a foreign invasion points to an administration whose insatiable appetite for power will not and cannot be deflected or deterred. Not even a major repudiation of its party at the polls in November has had more than a momentary effect on the pursuit of massive and irreversible changes to the American economic and social landscape. In another year and a half of more and increasingly egregious efforts to undermine the economic foundations of the nation, will the country be able to recover? With the willing accomplices in the media and academia, the administration is emboldened in its relentless work of fundamentally transforming the U.S. as it promised when campaigning. Never mind what the majority of the American people want now that they have had a chance to see what transformation means.

The NLRB’s Boeing decision simply cannot be allowed to stand. We are imperiled economically and morally by the threat to property rights and freedom imbedded in the ruling.