Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
Yesterday, we celebrated Labor Day. Founded by the organized labor movement (unions) it recognizes the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well- being of the U.S. In 1894, Congress passed a law making the first Monday of September a legal holiday and creating a Labor Day holiday. Labor unions seem to be a thing of the past in the U.S. Only eleven percent of wage and salary workers belong to them. This is just half the percentage of union members there were in 1983.
Traditionally a ‘jobs report’ is released on or near Labor Day by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This year’s report shows there are 149 million Americans out of work. Unemployment in August was at 5.1%, a seven year low, but according to U.S. News and World Report, that number is deceptive. “The number of unemployed people dropped, but many of these Americans were those who were actively searching for work but have now dropped out of the job-hunting process,” U.S. News reported. When someone stops actively searching for a job, they are no longer counted as unemployed. In other words, there are fewer unemployed Americans, but it could just be because many people have given up hope and stopped looking for a job. Congressman Bernie Sanders, who is a candidate for the Democrat Presidential nomination believes that. Sanders said, “There is another set of government statistics and that real unemployment if you include those people who have given up looking for work and the millions of others who are working part-time 20, 25 hours a week when they want to work full-time, when you put all of that together, real unemployment is 10.5 percent.”
Wall Street reacted negatively to the jobs report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 273 points on the news that the economy created just 173,000 jobs last month when it was anticipated there would be 218,000 created. Wall Street believes the jobs report will trigger an interest rate increase by the Fed next month which would slow the economy down.
An interesting development revealed by the report is that Millennials (18-34 year old) are now over one third of the American workforce, beating out Generation X (35-50 year old) by a slim margin.
The Obama administration will point to the unemployment rate and crow that it is down to the lowest level since the President took office, but as mentioned above the reason may be people giving up hope. Consider these statistics:
A record 46.3 million Americans are receiving food stamps. That is nearly 50% more recipients than when the President took office. The rate of home ownership has slipped to its lowest point in more than 20 years. Only 64% of Americans own their own homes. That is the lowest percentage since 1994 and down 3.5% since President Obama took office. The national debt has nearly doubled under this president. It is over $18 trillion dollars. That is an increase of $7.4 trillion since 2009, when the president took office. Just the ‘increase’ is $65,443 per household! Rest assured, the president didn’t do this by himself. He had help from Congress, whose unwillingness to make some tough decisions have put America on the path to bankruptcy.
Last week during a stop in Duncan, U.S. Senator James Lankford said, “Washington DC(Congress) is a mirror of our society. If we don’t like what we see, we need to change it. The key to changing America is for us to have strong families. I would encourage you to mentor a young family and to encourage young families. They are the future of America.” Lankford is absolutely right. When an avowed socialist (Sanders) can fill stadiums with his message of wealth redistribution, it is apparent that today’s America is much different than what it was just twenty years ago. Can we ever go back? While the good ole days weren’t always good, they did give some hope for hard workers to better themselves. The only way we improve our current situation is for Americans need to take equity in this self-governing experiment called a democratic republic. Citizens need to pay attention to what is going on in their government and get involved. How do you do that? Show up at city council meetings, go to school board meetings, attend your county GOP meetings, research the issues, visit with your elected representatives. In short, simply show up! The world is ruled by those who show up!