Sunday, April 16, 2017

McCarthyism at the American Federation of Teachers

Dear President Trump:

I am reading a report by the American Legislative Exchange Council on inefficient pension fund practices. The report is entitled Keeping the Promise: Getting Politics Out of Pensions. I was disturbed to learn that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is using its financial power to attack pension fund managers whose private political views diverge from the views of the leadership of the AFT. This is authoritarian and fascistic, and I find it disturbing that a union that is supposed to support education, which requires the free exchange of ideas,  attempts to use its economic power to silence and suppress individuals whose views diverge from theirs.  The American left has whined about McCarthyism for the past sixty years, but the AFT’s actions are no different from Senator Joe McCarthy’s.

I ask that you investigate the American Federation of Teachers.  An organization that engages in suppressive political behavior should not be entitled to a tax exemption.  As a member of a union that unfairly diverts a large share of our dues to the fascistic bigots of the AFT, I urge you to look into taxation of labor unions and a rethinking of the privileges public sector labor unions have enjoyed. 

The report says this:

Another form of divestment is the effort by some interest groups to pressure pension funds to divest from certain fund managers on account of their personal political beliefs. Perhaps the most notable example of this effort has been led by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).  In recent years, the AFT has promoted a divestment campaign targeting hedge-fund managers who have supported initiatives with which they disagree. The AFT has targeted some hedge-fund managers for their actions supporting school choice and favoring defined-contribution  public pension systems. This is particularly threatening given AFT’s influence over an estimated $1 trillion in public defined-benefit plans, many of which hold investments in hedge funds as part of their portfolio.


Mitchell Langbert

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