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Labor Day Observations

September 10, 1986

Edward J. Carlough's article (Editorial Pages, Sept. 1), "Is Labor a Special Interest?" provided the final requisite for organized labor to be treated as a special interest group.

Like defenders of all special interest groups, Carlough argues that his is not one. Because we're all laborers, and we all benefit from what organized labor has fought for, Carlough reasons that organized labor should not be encumbered with the "special interest group" label, which poisons it politically.

Never mind that organized labor helped to raise wages in many industries so high that millions of jobs have been lost to foreign manufacturers. Never mind the inflationary effects of the high wage demands of organized labor during the late 1970s, even while unemployment was a serious problem. And never mind the harm to the "general welfare" caused in recent years by the increasing number of illegal strikes by public employee unions.

By Carlough's logic, the building industry isn't a "special interest" because we all live in houses. Business isn't a "special interest" because it gives us all our jobs. Importers couldn't be a "special interest group" because cheap imports help keep down inflation for everyone.

Oh yes, and minorities wouldn't be a "special interest" either, because isn't there something about "no one being free until everyone is free?"

Finally, let's hear it for the tax loophole users. Surely, "special interest group" wouldn't apply to those who invest their money in areas deemed necessary by our representatives for the good of the general economy. Isn't it great, Mr. Carlough, that we don't have any special interest groups in the United States!



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