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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Labor Day Conundrum

Posted Friday, August 31, 2012, at 9:32 AM

On the first Monday in September, we have an only-in-America holiday called Labor Day. It has never been clear to me what greeting one gives on such an occasion. Would "Happy Labor Day" be appropriate?

Growing up in St. Louis, Mo., in the 1950s, Labor Day meant only summer had ended, the swimming pools closed, and the next day we'd be back in school. Although traditionally associated with the end of summer, Labor Day has a more honorable history than that.

Labor Day has been with us since 1894. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, who should know: "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

As this Labor Day dawns we are hearing constantly that laborers are not laboring and the economy is lethargic. Naturally this warning comes most voraciously from the political Party not holding the Presidency -- in this immediate case the Republicans. In the interest of fair and balanced, if John McCain were President we'd be hearing about the same thing from the Democrats.

Say it ain't so, Barry and Willard.

As of the end of July 2012 according to another government bureaucracy, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 91.7 percent of Americans are working. Exactly how anyone could possibly know this I cannot imagine. But, 91.7 percent of Americans ARE working! In a 1972 movie the Party in power was bragging that 92 percent employment was a good sign. By that 1972 measure with only .3 percent more people working and we'll have a strong economy! As my dad complained about statistics in general, "sins in the name of accounting".

Let's face it, some people are out of work because the jobs they had are gone and never coming back. My first employment was as a carhop for a place called Parkmore. Everybody needed carhops and jobs were easy to get with no experience or education. Some jobs are just gone and never coming back. But, 91.7 percent of Americans ARE working!

As to the economy itself, I simply see to much expenditure of treasure to believe it's all that bad.

You don't have to look far to see we got it pretty good in America. If the economy was as bad as the politicians say it is, where are they getting all that money to pay for all those ads to tell anyone who will listen that the economy is all that bad?

The most blatant problem our economy has is that expectations of what "might be" or "might have been" have gotten too high. Often these are the "expectors" who simply do not appreciate what they have. As a rich man said when asked how much money is enough, "just $1 more."

Yes, there are and always be with us those who suffer from the happenings of life over which they hold no control. But, next time someone talks about how bad off we are as a country, tell them about the 10 people in other countries (and 8.3 percent of Americans) who'd be glad to take up the complainer's labor.

Happy Labor Day!

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David L. Lewis
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