Labor Day, 2011
Since the first Labor Day was observed in the U.S. in 1882, it has become the symbolic end of summer and the cue for our children to return to school. However, we celebrate Labor Day as a national holiday, not as a change of season or as a mark on the school calendar, but in recognition of American workers and their families.
This year, it’s difficult for millions of unemployed Americans to celebrate Labor Day. According to the latest numbers from the U. S. Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate remains stubbornly above 9 percent - leaving nearly 14 million Americans out of work.
Unemployment has remained above 8 percent for 30 straight months. This shocking rate of joblessness undermines our families and communities, and deprives our young men and women of opportunity. With the 2012 elections not so far away, the important fact for working Americans is this: no matter if you are a Democrat, Independent or Republican, you are probably unhappy with our country’s direction.
It may seem like a long time ago, but America’s economy has been for all of modern history the envy and the model for the whole world. Hard work, enterprising businesses, and freedom created new industries and tens of millions of jobs. But now we seem to have lost the confidence, resilience and the dynamic energy that enabled our country to come roaring back after recessions - and it isn’t a mystery why this is so.
For all of its rhetoric about creating more jobs, the Obama Administration doesn’t understand how our economy grows. More regulations, more government programs, and higher taxes don’t create new businesses and jobs; an energized private sector economy does.
Corporate balance sheets indicate that American companies have as much as $2 trillion in cash available to invest. There is pent-up energy and new ideas to spur the small business growth on which we depend for most of our new job creation. But our job-creators are holding back because of job- killing and business-killing policies that are coming from Washington.
The Administration has added more than 50,000 pages of federal regulations to the Federal Register this year, loading down American businesses with hundreds of billions of dollars in new costs and complications. In response to a recent letter from House Speaker John Boehner, President Obama detailed at least seven more major regulations to be released in the coming months, with total projected costs of $100 billion per year on affected industries.
President Obama has also never stopped pressing for what he calls a “balanced approach” - higher taxes and more spending - even after the U.S. Senate unanimously rejected his proposed budget for 2012. For American businesses and industries that must invest in order to create jobs and growth, the constant White House drumbeat for higher taxes sends a consistent message: hold back.
Just around the corner, unless the U.S. Supreme Court finds the Obama health care law to be unconstitutional, hundreds of billions of dollars in new health care mandates, fees, and higher costs for businesses are coming, which will fall most heavily on small employers. That is, unless you’re one of the 1,500 favored businesses and labor unions that the Administration has exempted from the new health care law.
This Labor Day weekend, if you were one of the American workers fortunate to enjoy a day off from your job, keep in mind the millions of your fellow citizens who didn’t have that opportunity.
Kay Bailey Hutchison is the senior U.S. Senator from Texas http://hutchison.senate.gov