Labor Day ’23

Today is Labor Day, America’s annual national holiday to celebrate the work of its people. Considering my blue collar background, I feel qualified to do just so.

I was raised in a working-class suburb of Buffalo, New York. My high school was on the de facto main street – Union Road. Much of my youth was in a sort of Ozzie and Harriet environment. The moms were mainly stay at home moms who did not drive the Chevies and Fords their husbands did. Dads drove mainly Chevies and Fords because the good jobs (almost all blue collar) were either at the Chevy and Ford auto plants or the steel mills.

Strikes were an uncomfortable fact of life. We honored picket lines not out of fear, but out of moral obligation. To cross one was tantamount to stealing food off your neighbors’ tables. I worked several different jobs during my working years. Some were great and rewarding opportunities; in others the only redeeming factor was the paycheck.

Fast forward to today. The union movement – which is responsible for almost all the good things that working class Americans enjoy – appears to finally be bouncing back from its lowest point, certainly its lowest point in my recollection. A large part of that is an unexpected benefit of the pandemic supplemented by ill-advised immigration policies.

Last Friday the latest jobs numbers came out and they exceeded expectations with the unemployment number rising to 3.8%. While any rise in unemployment is not good from my perspective, when 3.8 is an increase how bad can things be?

Now is the best time in decades for Joe Lunchbucket to go out and get a job with a compensation package that allows them to raise a family at a decent standard of living and that, in my mind, is a very good thing!

The other side will raise the inflation issue. While that is a problem, albeit demonstrably decreasing, let’s put it in perspective. American inflation is at 3.3% while inflation in the Eurozone stands at 5.3%. I’d say Biden is busting the grading curve.

Many on the right are decrying the availability of good jobs. Who is that bad for? Certainly not Joe (or Jane) Lunchbucket. However, it does make it a bit more difficult to exploit the masses for the enrichment of the few (who are often members of the Lucky Sperm Cell Club).

If things go south, regardless of the cause(s), Biden will shoulder the bulk of the blame and it will be a factor in the 2024 election. He dodged one major bullet with the settlement of the UPS labor dispute. A UAW strike is a real possibility as of this writing and should that happen and extend into early voting it will hurt Biden. I could be impactful on the outcome in the battleground states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Stick a pin in that one.

Keep in mind all this is happening in spite of the Fed continuing to raise interest rates seemingly without just cause. Unless their mission is political and they want to force a recession.

Remember economies grow from the bottom and middle up; not in a trickle down. (Despite rhetoric to the contrary that is a proven fact.) Enjoy your Labor Day whether you still work for a paycheck or, like me, have those days in the rearview mirror.

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