Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Should we still call it Labor Day?

SO ANOTHER LABOR DAY has passed, not with a bang but sorrowfully a whimper. The media told us of the bleak economy and in a couple of instances, still mindful of President Bush's quick fix, suggested that consumers could provide a glimmer of hope by going shopping.

The national h0liday was set aside by President Grover Cleveland in 1897, ten years after Oregon had declared a "Labor Day" to honor its workers. Until recently, editorial pages on this special day were dominated by grand salutes to the contributions of the working class to the strength of the nation.

My, how times have changed! Editorials in in the Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch went on and on about the state of the economy and how important it is now to find solutions. Interestingly, neither Kasich-friendly paper had a single reference to the governor's union- busting initiatives that will be challenged on Election Day. Nor could they. How hollow their words would be inasmuch as both oppose the repeal of Senate Bill 5, which severely restricts public unions.

Instead, the Plain Dealer hauled out the usual imprecise but handy nostrums to invigorate the economy, to wit:
"It is up to all Ohioans, and our political leadership, to show the imagination and forward-thinking in education, taxation and spending policies needed to bring vibrancy back to the employment market."
And what might they be? A brief translation: cut taxes and spending. That's imaginative these days with trickle-nowhere corporations sitting on more than $2 trillion that could help remedy the jobs picture?

The Dispatch, meanwhile., simplified the problem by blaming President Obama and the National Labor Relations Board, a thought that is not even forward-looking nor original but largely inspired by something held dearly by the National Association of Manufacturers.
Concluding that the NLRB was out to "punish" companies that strive to create new jobs, the Dispatch huffed:

"These moves have cowed, paralyzed or blocked the private-sector decision-making that is necessary to get the nation moving again."

To its credit, the Beacon Journal did slip from its occasional anti-union noose to call upon Obama to support unemployment benefits and protect the jobs of "teachers, police officers and firefighters, among others." That, of course, was an unmistakable reference to those public unions most affected by Senate Bill 5.

But for the state's two largest newspapers, it was a Labor Day that called for extending the employment benefits of their friends in the eagerly compensated front offices.

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