BOOK REVIEW: ‘Shadowbosses’
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
By Mallory Factor with Elizabeth Factor
Center Street, $24.99, 336 pages
Mallory and Elizabeth Factor have written an important and powerful new book, “Shadowbosses,” that explains the symbiotic relationship between the modern Democratic Party and today’s labor unions. One is not possible without the other. Democratic politicians pass laws that give union leaders power over workers, and union leaders use that power to take “dues” money from workers to give to Democratic politicians.
Last year, in 2011, 16.3 million workers who belong to unions (in every sense) had $14 billion taken from them in union dues. Much of that money flowed into political campaigns as cash and to pay “volunteers.” Labor unions are the skeleton and muscle of the modern Democratic Party.
Before the federal government passed the Wagner Act in 1935 forcing workers to join unions as a condition of employment, only 8 percent of Americans chose to join unions voluntarily. Thanks to Franklin Roosevelt’s legislation giving unions power over workers, once a union was in place, it did not need to ask workers to join. They paid dues or did not work.
Before the creation of government-empowered unions, the Democratic Party was the party of the discredited Confederacy, and from 1860 to 1932, of 15 presidents only two were Democrats: Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson. Wilson only won because Teddy Roosevelt ran as a Progressive, splitting the Republican vote.
When Herbert Hoover imposed massive tariffs, hiked the new income tax to 75 percent and spent like Barack Obama, he deepened a recession, and Franklin Roosevelt was able to win the 1932 election. FDR continued Hoover’s policies of higher taxes, “stimulus” spending and government regulations. He might have lost the next elections. But FDR created a new extension of government — labor unions with powers over workers to extract union dues. With government relatively small, those unions were in factories and there was a limit to how high wages and work rules could go without bankrupting businesses. Union power was constrained by its interest in the health of the overall economy.
Over time, unions killed off much of the auto, steel, mining and manufacturing industries in the United States. They went on the prowl, looking for new sources of dues money — and they found it in government workers: police, fire, teachers and generic bureaucrats. (more…)