Letter to the Editor: A word from Samuel Gompers

I am wondering what the position of the labor unions is in regard to "Obamacare." Ponder the words of the late Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor. "Compulsory social insurance is in is essence undemocratic and it cannot prevent or remove poverty. The workers of America adhere to voluntary institutions in preference to compulsory systems, which are held to be ... a menace to their rights, welfare and their liberty. Compulsory sickness insurance is based on the theory that they are unable to look after their own interests and the State must use its authority and wisdom, and assume the relation of parent and guardian."

Gompers was against Social Security, as well as public medical insurance, as he had seen what its result was in Bismarck's Germany, where it originated.

He said: "I want to tell you socialists that I have studied your philosophy ... I have kept close watch upon your doctrines for 30 years, and know how you think and what you propose ... economically, you are unsound; socially, you are wrong; and industrially, you are an impossibility."

Angela Bryce