For far too many Americans, there’s going to be nothing special about tomorrow. It’s hard to celebrate a day off from work when you don’t have a job.
It has become increasingly clear that the nation is not going to rebound from its economic malaise until there are dramatic reductions in an unemployment rate that has hovered around 9 percent for far too many months.
Friday’s announcement by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the U.S. economy added no new jobs in August was a sobering bit of news to start the Labor Day weekend. Reports indicated the last time the nation recorded zero job growth for a month was in World War II.
For many potentially productive workers, prolonged unemployment has created an almost hopeless situation. It’s hard to keep pounding the pavement searching for jobs when every opening draws hundreds of applicants, and those who have been unemployed for months or years find themselves shunned to the back of the line. Some businesses have gone so far as to recruit for new openings only candidates who are already employed, making it even more difficult for the unemployed to go back to work.
President Barack Obama this week is expected to address the nation’s joblessness with yet another program designed to spark the economy. Given the fact that a campaign for re-election is on the near horizon, the odds are pretty good whatever he proposes will have more to do with politics than economic genius.
But the president can’t take all the blame. Our highly partisan congress is more concerned with which political party gets credit for what than it is in finding real solutions to the nation’s economic problems.
Experts in economic theory may differ on how to solve the nation’s employment problem, and there is certainly no guaranteed solution. But we do know that the backbone of the American economy has always been its entrepreneurial spirit, the strength of its small businesses, and the willingness of business leaders to dream big.
The government alone cannot solve the problem, but it can get out of the way of the nation’s free enterprise capitalists and let them do what they do best. Eliminating regulation and red tape, eliminating the fear of doing business, eliminating worry about the impact of the president’s misguided national health care program and eliminating impediments that keep businesses from succeeding would be major steps in the right direction by the federal government.
But odds are we aren’t going to hear the president talk much about eliminating government in his address this week. More likely we’ll here about more ways to spend non-existent public funds on iffy job programs and questionable bailouts guaranteed to add to the federal debt load.
We do not believe that the majority of the jobless in this nation are content to live on unemployment checks for months and months, or that they are looking for a federal handout. Ours is a nation’ built on the backs of its laborers, and these are people who want to work — if they could only find a job.
Those for whom tomorrow is truly a day off from work should pause to count their blessings, and in doing so maybe offer up a prayer of hope that those without jobs can be brought back into the workforce soon. If not, we may not be celebrating Labor Day as a nation in the years to come.