Beyond Labor Day
Yesterday was Labor Day, the day that Americans are supposed to reflect on the struggle of the working class in this nation, and celebrate the achievements of the working man in America. We often use the day as a day to have picnics, and that’s about all. I think we may very well be missing the number one issue facing our world today.
We have a more productive society than we’ve ever had before. GDP grows, consistently. Corporate profits are up. Wealth is being created. Most of the fruits of that success are going to very few people though. This is obviously true in America, but it’s true even more so in some other places. Saudi Arabia is incredibly rich, but almost the entire population lives in poverty. Russian profits almost entirely go to the oligarchs. Brazil has a huge problem of wealth flowing up. This is a global problem.
When the masses don’t partake in the success of their labor, things don’t end well. FDR called the CEO’s of major American companies to the White House shortly after becoming President to tell them they needed to support his agenda to end the Depression- or face a Russian style Revolution. Places where the masses have no hope end up being hotbeds for crazy revolutions, terrorism, and war. Part of the reason that American voters turned towards a con-man President and a Socialist Senator last year was that they are not partaking in the fruits of their labor.
The American economy needs some reform. We need unions back, and collective bargaining. We need a rise in the minimum wage to a living wage. We need more access to overtime eligibility. We need equal pay for female workers. We need to invest in our infrastructure in a way that is on par with the 1950’s. We need to fight wage theft by employers, and actually bring back the concept of pensions and retirement.
And we need to fight for this every day- not just Labor Day.