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End Labor Day, says Profit Council
The American Council on Profit today called upon federal and state governments to remove Labor Day from the nation’s list of official holidays.
Carnegie Gould, the Council’s Vice-President for Job Creation said, “As we all know, America’s need for increased productivity and job creation will require sacrifices from us all. To that end, we are today calling upon the President, Congress and the governors and legislatures of the fifty states to embark upon a process of reforming a tradition of excessive paid holidays that business leaders have identified as a roadblock to maintaining America’s preeminent position in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Calling the current list of ten paid federal holidays “an entitlement program that is simply out of step with current realities,” the Council unveiled a new report entitled “Job Killer: The Three Day Weekend,” the result of a year long study conducted by business and civic leaders “dedicated to the preservation of traditional American values.”
The group reached its conclusion as to which holiday should be the first to be eliminated only after the “most careful deliberation as to each holiday’s role in maintaining the nation’s job-creation ethos,” according to Gould. Calling the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays “essential reminders of the Judeo-Christian tradition and work ethic that has made America the economic engine that is the envy of the world,” he added that Washington’s Birthday or Presidents’ Day, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day are also “necessary reminders of the nation’s foundation and the generosity of the Native American population in providing the land that has made America a profit center unprecedented in world history.”
The committee also found Memorial Day and Veterans Day “appropriate reminders of the central role of America’s military in creating the jobs that have made the nation safe and profitable” and cited Independence Day’s importance in creating a “small business-friendly climate” by fostering the fireworks industry which it called “an example of individual American entrepreneurship at its finest.” And as for the most recently added holiday commemorating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Gould called it an “appropriate reminder of the historical contribution of African-Americans in providing a labor force that did so much to enhance the capital formation capabilities of the Great American Job Machine.”
“This left us,” Gould said, “with Labor Day, a holiday whose Americanism has been questioned from the outset.” Attributing its origins to “radical organizations that questioned the self-evident benefits of American capitalism,” he also pointed out that “our member organizations have never demanded equal time with a Capital Day,” Gould argued that “so far as the business community is concerned, every day is Labor Day. The irony of the government naming one particular day Labor Day and then prohibiting actual labor on that day should be obvious to all.”
The report notes that the U.S. economy no longer finds its primary competitors in Europe, which it referred to as a “sclerotic, bureaucratic, entitlement-clogged continent of the past,” but rather in “the dynamic emerging economies of China, India and other countries not hamstrung by anti-growth regulation.” In that context, it reported that “we have identified unpaid holidays as an absolute job killer.”
Calling the abolition of Labor Day “the type of signal that has the potential to ignite an upward spiral of investor confidence,” Gould dismissed the anticipated objections of labor unions: “They pretty much just do picnics now these days, anyhow, don’t they?”
Well, no, there isn’t actually a Council on Profit calling for the abolition of Labor Day. Not yet, anyhow. But the measures that real-life groups like that do actually call for pretty much come from the same recipe book. Any government measure that might redistribute wealth from the top to the middle or bottom has to go, as does any regulation that might increase the cost of doing business, regardless of how beneficial to society it may be.
Traditionally, Labor Day has been a time to celebrate the labor movement’s past victories – the eight hour day, the weekend, the abolition of child labor, etc. This year, however, we might want to devote more time to reflection and planning for the future. A couple of thoughts for the mix:
1. Not to put it so crudely as my fictional Carnegie Gould, but the fact is that unions ain’t what they used to be. So, it seems as good a time as any to remember that Labor Day isn’t just for the 12 percent in unions, but for the nearly 85 percent of us who work for someone else (although obviously there will be those like Gould who’d just as soon not be taking the day off or celebrating with the rest of us.)
2. Businesses don’t exist to create jobs; they exist to make a profit. If demand for a company’s goods or services is on the rise, hiring someone new may be the way to increase profits; when demand is declining, the route to increased profit may be laying someone off. Business leaders never ignore this basic fact – except when speaking to the newsmedia about legislation.
3. If the demand for the goods and services that American business produces is to increase, the vast majority of the population – who work for those businesses – will need to have more money in our pockets at the end of the week, not less. Organizations like our fictional Council on Profit, however, exist to insure that the opposite happens. They are, in other words, constitutionally incapable of offering real solutions to our economic problems.
The slogan of the Industrial Workers of the World may have been a bit off in its prediction for the American working class: “We shall be all.” We are 84 percent, though. And it is within this group, which constitutes the lion’s share of America’s population, that we should look for the way forward – and not to the tiny minority of corporate CEOs who currently dominate the discussion.