Anti-Labor Democrats?

By Sean Frick

Democrats have a hard time dealing with ideas, especially big ones like life, liberty and campaign finance laws. They tend to view the world in terms of constituencies, and hence they pigeonhole Republicans as pro-business, anti-poor, and pro-pollution. These labels are meaningless, because Republicans, at least on a good day, are more concerned with freedom than welfare state politics of breaking people up according to the program that serves them.

So what does it mean when Democrats say they're pro-labor? Apparently not much, when there's more votes to be had by the consumers of air travel than its producers. Hence the "pro-labor" Clinton Administration didn't allow a strike of American Airlines pilots to proceed as long as a taxi to the runway before he invoked an obscure clause of ancient legislation to halt this anti-American behavior.

The legislation, meant to deal with railroad workers, was broadened in its interpretation to include airlines workers. Clinton wasn't the first President from the party of the people to invoke this law either. Both Truman and Johnson have saved the country from the domestic threat of workers striking for a better wage.

We shouldn't think that Clinton violated some great principle to halt the strike. The Democrats' main idea is to do whatever it takes to keep people happy. Whether this involves the exercise of a brutal force over people's lives appears incidental, and possibly a way for Clinton to show his cajones. It wasn't a hard decision, because more people fly on American than fly American. The excuse that the economy (about $7 trillion per year) couldn't handle a couple million dollar a day strike is ludicrous. People adjust to new circumstances in this dynamic economy.

Unions will soon begin negotiating with other airlines for wage hikes. What will their trump card be? Sit at the table with us or else we'll have Clinton appoint a panel?

Mike Trotzke

Sean Frick

Eric Seymour