Honoring the American Worker
Labor Day is a wonderful holiday. It provides us a chance to celebrate all that summer had to offer while looking forward to fall. If we are lucky, it gives us a chance to spend time with our family and friends, cook out, and celebrate the start of football season (Go Dawgs!).
The real meaning of Labor Day, however, is taking a moment to celebrate the American worker. Throughout our history, the American workforce has led the world in innovation and productivity. We have dreamed up some of the greatest inventions and created the supply chain to spread them all over the world.
America gives everyone – regardless of your past – the opportunity to earn a livelihood, provide for your family, and, if you’re lucky, the chance to give a hand up to the next generation so they may seek an even better life.
Unfortunately, America’s economy is puttering right now and is failing the American worker. A report this week from the Bureau of Economic Analysis found that economic growth slowed for two consecutive quarters, making this the weakest economic recovery since World War II.
Remember when the Obama Administration campaigned for his trillion dollar “stimulus”? They promised unemployment would never rise above 8 percent and millions of jobs would be created by the end of 2010.
As of last month, there are still 4.4 million fewer jobs than the Administration forecast for December 2010 and unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months, marking the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
While some in Washington focused on a passing a misguided health care law, the rug was being ripped out from under American workers. Today there are 1.5 million fewer full-time workers than when President Obama took office. Millions of Americans only have work because they have been forced to shift from full-time to part-time employment, often lacking benefits or the ability to support a family.
The economy has become so bad that many are giving up looking for work all together. Under President Obama, total employment has increased by a net of just 33,000 new employees. In that same time, the number of people no longer in the labor force has grown by 7.8 million. That means that during the Obama years, labor force drop outs outnumbered new employees 237 to 1.
Even worse, those who have been able to maintain their jobs see their paychecks falling behind inflation as prices rise while wages stay stagnant or decline.
I hope this Labor Day provides everyone with an opportunity to reflect on this state of the American economy and the American worker. We face great challenges but America has never been one to back down before. It is not too late to abandon the failed policies that have made a bad economic situation worse.
It’s not too late to put a halt to overly-burdensome and misguided government regulations. We should be able to come together and agree that regulators should work with well-intentioned businesses rather than using the law to exploit inadvertent mistakes.
It’s not too late to create jobs and bring down the cost of gasoline by developing America’s energy resources. An all-of-the-above energy platform would harness America’s energy potential both in conventional means and renewable resources.
It’s not too late to replace our misguided tax code with one that works for the American economy by making it fairer, flatter, and more conducive to growth.
In each of these areas the House has acted: calling for a review of regulations and repeal those that yield little benefit while they inflict much economic damage; voting to end President Obama’s de facto energy moratorium and to expand safe development of our resources; and laying the ground work to fast track fundamental tax reform.
In each of these areas, we welcome the President and the Senate to join us. We also welcome them to act on any of the more than thirty bipartisan jobs bills passed by the House which await Senate action.
More than any holiday, honoring the American worker today starts with coming together to reignite the American economy and revive the American dream.