Labor Day is here, and it’s about work in America. Our beloved workforce. Especially the middle-income American blue collar workers who have literally made this country a great country. They make our businesses work. They produce our goods and services.
They are also the brave soldiers who defend our nation and our freedom in all regions of the world. American workers built this country, and today, though often overlooked by the current administration, these workers of all colors are the heart and soul of America.
They built this country. They defend the country, and their values remain the bulwark of our country. The first Labor Day in the United States was September 5, 1882. It was a beautiful day. In 1894, Congress passed a law making the first Monday in September in each year a federal holiday.
President Grover Cleveland enacted it. Cleveland, a free trader, staunch supporter of the gold standard and killer of government overspending, is one of my favorite presidents.
Here, in 2021, Labor Day should not be confused with unions. The peak unionization rate in the United States was 1954 at 28% of total employment. At the end of last year, it was only 9.6%. Private sector unions have fallen to just 6%. Government unions, which really are the lifeblood of the labor movement today, hold at around 35%.
I have always had a soft spot for private sector unions. today they are mostly construction workers with hard hats ?? energy, pipelines, telecommunications and more. Some of the first great leaders of private enterprise unions, people like Samuel Gompers and much later George Meaney, Lane Kirkland, James Hoffa, were great patriots.
Strongly anti-Communist in their day, they negotiated higher wages and benefits, but they didn’t hate business.
For the most part, union leaders after WWII were conservative Democrats, with strong family values, loyalists, and they knew that if companies failed their jobs would be lost.
Today it is the government unions that lead the Democratic Party, including the teachers’ union but also many others. They don’t like the private sector and free enterprise. Overall, they hate business. They have awakened and truly form the backbone of the progressive far left wing of the Democratic Party, which is the driving force behind the Democratic Party today.
It’s a shame it has to be like that. These government unions live off the watering hole of public taxpayers. They love more government spending to line their pockets and encourage higher and higher taxes on the very geese that lay their golden eggs, because without the successful taxpayers i.e. men and women businesswomen, that is, ordinary middle class American blue collar workers, these government unions do not get paid. Think about it.
I’ve got big oxen with this crowd, but none bigger than my ox with the teachers’ unions. Their behavior over the past few years has been appalling. They don’t want to teach. They just want to be paid. They don’t care about the cities, the school boards and the parent groups that are supposed to run our education system. They oppose school choice, charter schools, religious schools, homeschools, because they know they can’t compete with them.
They had tantrums during the pandemic whenever it seemed like the public was going to force them to teach in class. They always complain and follow unscientific ideas that are only about politics, not health. When they teach, they teach crazy things, like the critical race theory, based on crazy, anti-historical ideas, that our founders and all other white people are necessarily white supremacists.
They teach children the wrong history, the wrong values. They teach discrimination as a solution to what they perceive to be discrimination. They teach racism as the answer to all of our problems. It’s absurd. Guess they’re gonna have to be a part of Labor Day, but I wish they weren’t.
Meanwhile, the bigger picture for America’s 154 million workers is not good. I’m glad they are going back to work because the economy has opened up and the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.4%. That’s wonderful. Right now, however, the whole orientation of the Biden administration’s economic and social policies is anti-labor.
Their $ 6 trillion spending program, massive tax hikes at all levels, huge regulatory burdens on central planning, dependence on welfare from the Big Company-type government, the bankruptcy of Medicare tries to force unionization wherever the federal government touches the economy, which is virtually every nook and cranny, their disregard for the benefits of legal immigration and clear borders to protect us.
It is all a question of redistribution. There is not a single iota of job creation, growth or prosperity in these Biden plans. Groups like the Tax Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania / Wharton business model, and the NAM-Rice University models show the Biden go-woke, go-broke plan to lose millions of jobs while lowering GDP and reducing our capital stock.
If this happens, the stock market will suffer tremendously along with the economy. Ironically, government unions and teachers who hate free enterprise are among the biggest beneficiaries of the stock market boom and the corporate profits that flow from it.
About 70% of their pension funds are invested in equities. This crowd loves great government socialism. They hate free enterprise capitalism, but they live off the gains of this very free market capitalist system.
Here’s a basic wording that the Biden and their leftist allies don’t understand. Higher taxes on businesses and investments, foreign trade and inheritance will lead to lower profits. A fall in profits leads to a fall in wages. Falling profits also lead to lower expenses for the company’s equipment and technology. Less training of workers. and lower family incomes.
Profits are the breast milk of stocks and the lifeblood of the economy. Tax them, according to the awakened Bidens, and you devastate the economy and its workforce.
Here on Labor Day, I want to repeat that America is talking about our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This pursuit of happiness includes the virtue of work, not well-being. This pursuit of happiness is about rewarding success, not punishing it. This pursuit of happiness includes equality of opportunity at the starting line of life’s endeavors, but not equality at the finish line.
Until this finish line, we are guided by our God-given talents to work, prosper, protect our families, protect our country. I think former union leaders would agree with most of what I said. Not all, but most. Sadly, today’s government labor leaders and the Biden administration they support probably disagree with a single word I write.
So I’m going to invest my optimism in a good way or in our immensely practical workforce that is much smarter than you might think. They got us here, with a few issues here and there, but somehow they managed to get us out even though they never seem to deserve the credit. As a confirmed optimist, I will bet on them again. When it comes to thinking about Labor Day, they are the ones I think of first.
From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox News. Image: Lane Kirkland of the AFL-CIO, detail of a photo by Richard Whitney, via Wikipedia.