Legalized Corruption? Look No Further Than Labor Unions


This week, a socialist named Zephyr Rain Teachout (no, really) wrote an article for Salon once again trumpeting the liberal bugle against the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision. In the midst of the 2500 word excerpt from Teachout’s longer Harvard essay, she rails against conservative Justices Scalia and Kennedy and re-makes the same tired arguments we’ve all heard a million times. It’s the legalization of corruption, she insists, and it’s a sign that the Supreme Court has gone too far to the right.

Well, someone named Zephyr Teachout would naturally think that, but she somehow left out another giant of political contribution that leftists have supported since before she was born: labor unions.

It’s only September, and already the political advertisements on television have reached their saturation point. By the time the elections get here, many Americans will wish that politicians had a little less money to spend on their campaigns. When that dissatisfaction blooms, they’ll likely blame decisions like Citizens United for allowing corporations to donate freely to the candidates of their choice. But they may not suspect the truth, which is that the Supreme Court’s ruling merely leveled the playing field.

Labor unions, whose representatives have been some of the most outspoken critics of the Court’s ruling, continue to donate more money to politicians each year than almost any other American entity. What’s even more outrageous is that most of their money goes to Democratic candidates even when many of their members vote for Republicans. This is not only a clear misuse of labor dues, but it illustrates the hypocrisy of the left when it comes to political contributions.

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In her article, Zephyr maintains that the Founding Fathers would be aghast to see how much money corporate America pours into the political system. But she makes no mention of how they would feel about the same amount of money pouring in from labor unions. Somehow, in a liberal’s mind, a labor union is a person while a corporation is just a building.

There was a time when unions made sense. Before World War II, conditions were horrible for many American workers and exploitation ran amok. Unionization of workers and collective bargaining helped create the middle class and is considered one of the most important developments in U.S. economic history. Now that we’ve swung drastically in the other direction, having regulated everything that can possibly be regulated, the need for unions is not as strong.

Because people in many states saw little advantage to paying the exorbitant dues their unions extracted, their numbers shrank. To make up the difference and stay alive, labor unions went into politics. They helped to elect generations of Democrat lawmakers, garnering plenty of favors in the process. If ever there was a legalization of corruption in America, it was in the labor unions’ funding of leftwing politics.

Today, the unions comprise one of the biggest special interest groups in the country, continually fighting for labor laws that reduce profit, destroy competition, and enrich their own coffers. When they’re neutralized, maybe we can start talking about Citizens United.

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