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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Not much to celebrate this Labor Day

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Monday, September 01, 2014 12:01 am
Labor Day is the holiday set aside to pay tribute to the social and economic achievements of the American worker. Too bad there isn’t more work to celebrate.American workers, concludes a new survey from Rutgers University, are “insecure, underpaid, highly stressed, and generally unhappy at work.” The survey, which included 1,153 people over a two-week period, found that Americans’ perspective on the damage wrought by the late, great recession has only gotten worse. Seventy-one percent believed in caused permanent damage, compared with the 49 percent who believed so in 2009.

What the economists can prove with numbers, most Americans already know in their guts: The recovery is making progress, but it simply isn’t there yet. When all the people who have quit looking and all the people who are underemployed are added into the official unemployment rate, the numbers are just staggering.

That is, of course, bad news from a simple economic point of view: We are generally less well-off. We can’t do as much, travel as far, buy as often, live as well.

But the effect goes even deeper. The longer we feel trapped in a slow recovery, the less optimistic we are about everything. We are damaged emotionally. Our spirits feel crushed.

The worst part of the whole economic mess is that the federal government has no clue what to do. In fact, almost everything it is doing — from Obamacare to de facto amnesty for illlegal immigrants to stupefying new environmental regulations — seems perversely designed to make the problem even worse.

We should spend a little time today reflecting on some of the truths so many in government just do not understand, starting with “wealth is created by the private sector.” All government can do is confiscate it and pass it around. And let’s also throw in, “Real work is uplifting because it serves a purpose.” What purpose? Whatever the people involved in it - acting voluntarily, for each other’s benefit - decide it is.

The best thing government can do - please, no one, anything about “creating jobs” - is create a good environment in which the economy can flourish - sensible regulations, defensible taxation. After doing that, it should just get out of the way. It hasn’t done that in a long time.


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