Want to Make a Difference?

By Greg Scandlen

Like you, I have been watching the events unfolding in Madison, Wisconsin with alarm. The thuggish tactics of the union supporters and the Democrat Senators are appalling. Never mind elections, who can yell the loudest?

That isn’t supposed to be how it works in this Republic. This isn’t Greece.  Here you are supposed to make your case to the voters. If you lose, come back in the next election and try again. That’s what the Republicans did with ObamaCare.

Now it is spreading to Ohio and Indiana, and if the unions win, it will become standard operating procedure across the country.

It all underscores how critical the states are to the future of this country. Much of this gets lost in the 24-hour news cycle that focuses much more on Washington and can’t even find Frankfurt, Kentucky on a map – at least not until it blows up. I have a much harder time finding out what is happening in Harrisburg than in Washington.

We have to change that. One of the best ways I know is by getting involved in your local free market think tank.  These folks are making a huge difference around the country. They do the research and present the case to their own legislators about policies that work by empowering citizens.

They deal with a wide variety of issues in addition to health care – school choice, taxes, environment, criminal justice, transportation – pretty much everything a state or local government does. That means the people who run them are spread pretty thin.  They may be expert in a single area, or they may be general economists or political activists. Rarely do they come from the business community, or have hands-on expertise in a field like health care.

You can help. Obviously, donating money to them is always welcome, but offering your own expertise is every bit as important. They need knowledgeable people to help write papers and op-eds, to make presentations at meeting, to testify before the legislature. Even just giving them encouragement can be helpful when the chips are down.

You can find the think tanks in your area by going to the web site of the State Policy Network. They maintain a directory of every free market think tank in America and they provide resources to help the local groups get stronger and better.

Your participation has never been more important.


2 Responses

  1. Greg, Good stuff. I will link to your comments on my new web site: johntorinus.com. One of the mising elements in the paralysis in Wisconsin, where I live and write, is innovative thought. The principal budget buster in Wisconsin is out-of-control health costs. The state employee health plan runs at about three times best practice in the private sector, namely about $7000 in total cost per employee for a very full plan. You’re right that the state’s think tanks need pragmatic thought from business leaders.

  2. As I understand it, the problem started with price control in WWII
    Benefits were devised by various employers to entice workers from the competition while seeming to adhere to the price controls.
    Benefits are really barter – pay for work with out the use of money.
    Benefits became fixed in our culture and the tax laws were adjusted to accommodate the culture and win elections for politicians.
    The solution to the current strife, class warfare, and politics that is worse than usual:
    Eliminate benefits. Pay for work and let employees provide for their own health care and retirement just as do independent contractors.
    Simplify the tax laws to the new reality.
    Not very likely to happen because –
    Human nature avoids the harshness of reality and the pain of common sense whenever possible.
    Pandering to human nature empowers politicians and keeps them handsomely employed.

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