UAW President Bob King has a unique perspective on day care worker “pay cuts.” During a press conference yesterday, King denounced Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration for ending the Department of Human Service’s practice of taking “dues” out of government subsidy payments that low-income families use to pay home-based day care providers. According to the Detroit Free Press, King described the governor’s action as part of an agenda “to destroy the middle class.”

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The truth is, many home-based day care providers around the state are rejoicing that their pay is no longer being reduced for public-sector “union dues” — especially since the providers are private employers who receive none of the benefits that real public employees do. Many of them own their own business, so the union could not represent them in negotiations, could not bargain on their behalf. Yet money was being extracted anyway.

Nor did these providers benefit from the promise of extra training — another justification for roping private businesses into a government union. In 2006, Mott Community College was asked to enter into an interlocal agreement with the DHS in order to have a mechanism for creating the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council, the needed “employer” for the union to bargain against. Mott agreed, on the understanding that it would be instrumental in offering additional training to day care providers.

When the MHBCCC was dissolved by Mott Community College earlier this week, Michael Kelly, Mott’s executive director of public information, said in an e-mail: “We are content to have this end. We agreed to provide training but have never been asked to do so.”

What’s truly striking is that a union that was willing to take millions of dollars from the child care subsidy payments of “welfare-to-work” families is now expressing concern that children will be thrown into poverty.

The evidence (including union e-mails) seems clear that this whole day care arrangement was concocted by the unions and the Granholm administration to siphon millions of dollars from needy families and day care owners without providing anything in return.

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There aren’t many policies that get near unanimous support from economists, but free trade is one of them. Despite this, a central theme of the 2016 presidential campaign, heard from both political parties, was that free trade was somehow harmful to the United States and corrective action was needed. Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint and scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, makes the case for why President Trump’s assessment of free trade is misguided.

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