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Regarding Washington Post writer Harold Meyerson’s July 23 Op-Ed, “U.S. middle-class fortunes fade as unions decline“: The figures are interesting, but this is a very leftwing article, and in my view, the leftist view causes complete misinterpretation.

Unions do raise the incomes of those who stay in an industry, but they also cause that industry to be less competitive through high-income levels and work inflexibility. The industry then suffers and loses workers, either to foreign competition or mechanization. If this happens across a nation, it causes unemployment.

Spain has massive unemployment. It has extremely powerful unions. The latter is a major cause of the former. Unions damage economic growth and thus, in the long term, the wealth of everybody. The benefits gained for a group of workers often are the result of a union’s temporarily grabbing a bigger share of the pie — at the expense of others such as pensioners and the unemployed.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

james bartholomew

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