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Monday, September 1, 2014

Change Labor Day to Robber Baron Day

[Gazette Blog Editor's note: The following appeared in the Letters section of the Labor Day edition of The Arizona Republic.  How true and how sad.  Has America forgotten what it once stood for?]

Maybe we should cancel Labor Day.

Not because American workers don't deserve to be recognized - they do.  Their productivity is unsurpassed.  But recognition without sincerity is an insult, and as a society we no longer respect or value our workers.

If we did, would we shop at companies that routinely crush workers' attempts to organize?  Would we shop at companies that don't pay their employees enough to live on or provide them adequate health insurance, while the owners amass billions in personal wealth?

Would we tolerate a minimum wage that is too low to survive on?  Would we even accept the concept of the "working poor," rejecting the long-held American value that full-time work should be rewarded with a livable wage?  Would we continue to allow our corporations to export American jobs overseas?  And would we buy the products of this exploitation?

Outsourcing has rendered the American worker unnecessary, and as a result we are becoming a nation of us and them.  Us that struggle and them that has.

So lets scrap Labor Day and replace it with a holiday more in line with our plutocratic values.  We could call it Robber Baron Day.

Harry M. Smith
Phoenix

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