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Labor Day Is No Holiday for the Unemployed

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I have always viewed Labor Day as an important holiday to celebrate. As Mother’s Day and Father’s Day make us take notice of those unsung heroes of our families, Labor Day is meant to recognize all those who labor, and across America those people who are in blue collar, white collar, and no collar jobs deserve this day set aside as a “thank you” from Uncle Sam for all the effort all year long.

If you find yourself unemployed on Labor Day, the day takes on a different significance. I have heard an unemployed friend say, “You have the day off? I wish I was working today. I would work every holiday and every weekend. I just wish I had a job.” I am sure many people without jobs feel the same way, especially if they are long-term unemployed (out of work for more than twenty-seven weeks).

Right now we still have an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics that means fourteen million Americans are out of work, and this figure is unchanged since April. So I do keep hearing this sector and that sector are adding jobs, but other jobs are being lost and that means there is no tangible improvement at this point.

I know Congress and President Obama are not playing nice these days. I guess expecting them to work in a non-partisan way to benefit the American people is too much to ask. I mean, it is summer after all and why should our senators, representatives, and President deprive themselves of vacations (to places we can only dream of going)? That budget problem was heavy lifting for these guys, so I guess tackling unemployment is not a priority, at least while they work on their tans, golf swings, or are rocking in a hammock somewhere.

So we may hear some politicians talking about Labor Day; some will march in parades, and others will take adds out in newspapers saluting the American worker. That is all very nice, but that does nothing to change that 9.1% unemployment rate.

We should collectively think about what can be done to get people back to work. If you own a business, is there a way to hire more workers? We can write to our local and national leaders and tell them “Make unemployment the thing you tackle first when you come back from your extended vacations.” If enough people raise their voices, at least we will be heard.

As you celebrate Labor Day and throw hot dogs, burgers, and another shrimp on the barbie, remember how fortunate you are to have a job. Quit complaining about the small stuff, and recognize that you wouldn’t want to be one of those 9.1%.

We are lucky to have our jobs, and some of us even have two in order to make ends meet, but there are those out there who need a break in order to get back to work and lower that unemployment rate. We Americans owe it to those people and future generations to fix this situation, now if only Congress and the President could get with the program.

Perhaps, if they don’t deal with this issue, we voters can make a difference and put some of these people out of office. Then they will be out of work too and know the feeling, and maybe that unemployment rate will mean something more to them than just numbers. Come on, Washington, the clock is ticking! 

 

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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana has published numerous stories, articles, and poems in literary magazines and online. His books In a Dark Time (1994), A Death in Prague (2002), Move (2003), The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories (2005) and Like a Passing Shadow (2009) are available online and as e-books. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated mostly on fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with Blogcritics since July 2005, has edited many articles, was co-head sports editor with Charley Doherty, and now is a Culture and Society editor. He views Blogcritics as one of most exciting, fresh, and meaningful opportunities in his writing life.
  • Glenn Contrarian

    On a related subject, I just found this link to a survey of small business owners showing that they are concerned little or not at all about taxes and regulation and that such does NOT significantly affect their decisions whether to hire.

    But of course anything small business owners say that’s against conservative dogma is base heresy, and so the small business owners must be either lying or stupid or both, because conservative dogma must NEVER be questioned, right?

  • troll

    …while I might be wrong I don’t get the impression that McClatchy is describing a statistical survey in that link — theirs looks like a funky use of of the term ‘random sample’ which makes the piece come across as a little deceptive

    I really would like to see the results of a formal small business survey on the questions of taxes and regulations

  • Glenn Contrarian

    actually, I’d like to see such a poll too – but conducted by someone fairly reliable i.e. not Rasmussen Reports.

  • troll

    …I haven’t been able to figure out how Rasmussen can appear so consistently skewed

    statistics as political performance art

  • Glenn Contrarian

    it’s all in how they ask the question. Nate Silver has a good explanation somewhere on fivethirtyeight.com – that’s a great site for anyone who wants to pay attention to polls. That, and IIRC he was the single most accurate poll wonk for the 2008 election. He’s very, very good.

  • http://infotechgarage.com teach

    with a part time job, holiday is not an option, unlike before, nowadays you have to take advantage of every opportunity to work, no time for holidays, holidays nowadays is the day when you lose your job

  • clouds

    fire the retards in office all of them ”REVOLUTION TIME”

  • Cannonshop

    It’s all in how you ask the question, and in what sectors your sample of small business is taken. Corner-Store operators are going to have different response to regulations than, say, restaraunteurs,and the issues of those two are going to be very, very different from machine-shop operators, Automotive service guys, and used-car dealers, and those are all going to have different reactions to gun-store owner/operators or non-corporate farmers.

    So “Who” you ask is as important as “What” you ask, or where you’re asking it.

    Regs relating to disposing of used antifreeze really aren’t going to matter to a store like “Buttons&Things” or “The Computer Stop”, Property taxes on commercial real-estate aren’t going to matter to the guy who runs his mobile repair service out of a van, or the Taco-Mobile guy, while an organic grocer probably isn’t going to have much concern over the cost of diesel fuel until and unless it hits his suppliers (who’ll probably pass the extra cost to him, since they, also, run a tight margin.)

    And don’t even get into the issues that an Exterminator is going to face that your Macrame-Crafts-booth operator isn’t.

    Some small business is hit by regulation, some of it isn’t, and some are helped by it-usually at the cost of other, unrelated fields.

    So, when someone trots out a ‘universal’ study, I have to kind of look askance at it, because what’s hitting your local transmission shop probably won’t even touch tangentially on the comic-book-store, but they’re both being asked the same question with teh same suite of answers.