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Today, we as Americans will celebrate Labor Day. The origins of the day date back to the 19th century, with the first Labor Day being celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. By 1894, 23 states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. 

Labor Day was traditionally a day of parades and fun for those who were part of the labor movement that made this country great. The United States evolved into the great nation it is because of the contribution of men and women who toiled under the most severe conditions to produce a bountiful harvest of products that the whole world coveted and at one time, would pay big money for.

I’m old enough to remember the days of the Cold War, when stories were told about Soviet citizens offering big money to western tourists for a pair of Levi’s blue jeans. I remember when our farmers produced the majority of the world’s food supply, our factories built the latest hi-tech gadgets, and our financial sector was the world center of investment and trade. 

I’m also wise enough to remember when Chrysler needed a Government bail-out because of poor quality gas guzzlers, Harley-Davidson was on the brink of bankruptcy and needed tariffs to survive, and General Motors thought innovation meant mounting a radio vertically in the dash board(remember the Chevy Citation?). So, what do my memories have to do with anything? 

Today, this Labor Day, I challenge you to walk into a Wal-Mart store and find a “Made in the USA” tag on…Anything!  I know some readers just love to shop at Wal-Mart, and I have better things to do with my time then bash that monster retail example of all that’s wrong with America. But seriously, look at what Wal-Mart represents and issues it mirrors back at us everyday, issues we seem to ignore. 

In order to be competitive (spelled “cheaper”), Wal-Mart has forced it’s suppliers to off-shore production on just about everything. That off-shoring has destroyed millions of good paying jobs. Since those people have been forced to take lesser jobs, they can no longer afford to shop at anyplace other than Wal-Mart. See a pattern here? 

Wal-Mart has pulled off one of the biggest magical acts since Satan convinced the liberals he didn’t exist. As the standard of life in our country has eroded due to government waste, greedy politicians entering trade agreements that choke us, and tax laws that don’t favor job creation at home, Wal-Mart has reduced pricing on everything people use in everyday life resulting in the masking of this lifestyle erosion. Think about that for a minute. 

If Wal-Mart had not brought pricing to it’s current levels, those people that were falling behind due to lower pay, longer hours, and fewer job opportunities would not have been able to keep buying necessessities such as clothing, groceries, personal care items, and certain luxuries such as entertainment, electronics, and sporting goods. Every Christmas, rather than giving little to their children, people are able to stuff their Christmas trees with Chinese-made toys full of lead paint. People can still revel in the fruits of success, while ignoring the fact that they are only falling farther behind as the once American Dream has now become the American struggle to survive. They fail to see that the same pair of Levi’s that cost $27 in 1984, still cost $27 at Wal-Mart for a reason. That reason is some American lost their job and some slave-wage foreigner took it. 

In the bygone days of American success, we exported little other than food. We imported little, other than exotic minerals and oil. We had a manufacturing base that had unions demanding a fair wage and corporations being run by individual stockholders and owners whose only goal was the survival of the corporation.  People worked eight hours a day, stores were closed on Sunday and holidays, and one spouse could afford to stay home and give a proper upbringing to the children. It was baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet. 

Since then, Wall Street has taken over and the politicians have given them the mandate to do it. We now export little other than our coveted military technology, import more stuff than we can continue to afford paying for, and forgot how to manufacture things. People now work ten or more hours a day, greedy stores cater to anxious shoppers and stay open on Sundays, and both spouses have to work to survive and pay the bills. We now have over-paid prima donna baseball players that spit at umpires, mom doesn’t have time to bake that apple pie, and Chevrolet is owned by the unions and the government that are running it into the ground. 

People…voters…have allowed our politicians to sell of America to the highest bidder. What was once a day to celebrate Labor and its accomplishments is now just an excuse for a lazy government worker to have a paid day off. Stores advertise sales, cheap labor is used to work those extended store hours, and Wal-Mart is packed…no available parking space. 

So today I say, “Happy Labor Day” America! Look what you’ve allowed yourself to become.

One Response to “Labor Day Facade”

  • WXRGina says:

    Take-away line: the “American Dream has now become the American struggle to survive.”

    That’s a right-on piece, Scott!

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