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October 27, 2005

Good Work Life, Good Economy

The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) just came out with this great report detailing how states with strong worker protection and good pay are not a competitive disadvantage compared to the states with weak worker rights and low pay:

A major finding of the study is a consistent correspondence between the quality of a state's environment for workers and its economic health. States ranking high on the list generally have faster economic growth and lower poverty rates, and conversely, states at the bottom of the list tend to have slower economic growth and higher poverty rates. This suggests that anti-poverty strategies focused on creating decent jobs is viable as well as desirable, a finding that is especially pertinent in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, whose impact was devastating on the poor in New Orleans.
One of the sad parts of the study is how clear it was that the Gulf states like Louisiana and Mississippi already were economic disasters, suffering under bad jobs and weak worker protections-- where rightwing politicians had sold the voters on the idea that the route to growth was undermining rights for workers, yet feeding bad long-term economic prospects for the state.

This is an important study in light of the restoration of Davis-Bacon wage standards for the Gulf Coast. Bush and the conservative Republicans had been selling a low-wage route to recovery as necessary for economic recovery in the region, but the PERI report emphasizes that weak low-wage, low-worker-protection approaches by states are not the advantage the rightwing makes them out to be.

Posted by Nathan at October 27, 2005 10:00 AM