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This year America should celebrate Labor Day with reckless abandon.

While it is always appropriate to honor workers’ many contributions to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being, it is imperative now. All honest work deserves recognition and respect. Yet, America’s work ethic is under assault and ridicule on multiple fronts, with a growing number of politicians and academics aligning with old-fashioned hedonists. 

The Trump and Biden administrations gave egregious handouts to individuals and companies during the pandemic. The Biden administration then gave the back of its hand to working people when it attempted to wipe away large amounts of student loans for those who chose not to work and to indulge in studies with little or no commercial value.

Still, there is hope for the over-educated and under-employed in such areas as theatre arts, sociology, anthropology, and many others. America’s economy is strong with numerous blue-collar jobs (i.e., no college degree required) having median salaries exceeding $100,000. This includes air traffic controllers, commercial pilots, and construction managers. Plumbers, welders, power plant workers, and many blue-collar professionals often earn over $100,000.

Don’t want to get dirty and sweat? Even Uber drivers can earn $100,000 annually.

Beyond Uber, America’s tech sector has played a foundational role in keeping the U.S. strong and well-positioned for a bright future amid formidable challenges.

During the pandemic, many Americans could work and meet remotely, order large numbers of goods, and even get medical care through tele-visits with doctors.

Americans have also turned to Amazon and other commercial websites for additional income to offset high inflation and explore entrepreneurial opportunities. Tech side hustles have significantly benefitted tens of millions of hard-working and innovative Americans.

And yet, the Biden Administration is constantly urged to interfere with this economic engine as part of a broader effort to institute centralized economic planning from Washington, D.C.

Exhibit A is an August 29 Op-Ed in The New Republic by two executives with the Open Markets Institute, “Biden’s Best Path to a Pro-Worker Economy Runs Through the Federal Trade Commission.”

Yes, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which by law is charged with “protecting the public from deceptive or unfair business practices and from unfair methods of competition through law enforcement, advocacy, research, and education,” is being urged to get into the labor protection field.

Why would the executives make such an audacious ask? It is likely because current FTC chair Lina Kahn used to work at the Open Markets Institute and has made her top priority attacking large technology companies.

Yet tech sector jobs are highly coveted, particularly at larger companies. And there is no shortage of entrepreneurial businesses that also provide such quality jobs and would be open to being acquired or entering other business ventures with large tech companies.

The tech sector is America’s third largest employer, next to government and manufacturing. Indeed, the dynamism that tech companies provide in creating new jobs and enabling other businesses to innovate and expand, helps lead to a strong economy.

Given this, it is unsurprising that America’s unemployment rate has been half of Europe's for the better part of a decade. Europe, furthermore, has few of the world’s most innovative tech companies, and none of the ten largest.

It is time to revive America’s work ethic and the optimism and hope that comes from diligent, hard work. Booker T. Washington said, “Nothing comes to one that is worth having except as a result of hard work.”

The pandering, sissifying paternalism of big government is not only unnecessary to our success. It is a dangerous threat that all self-respecting Americans should repudiate.

Paul Steidler is a Senior Fellow with the Lexington Institute, a public policy think tank based in Arlington, Virginia. 


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