September 7, 2020
By Mike Huckabee
HAPPY LABOR DAY
Today is Labor Day, which is sometimes jokingly described as the day when Americans honor workers by taking the day off work. I hope you enjoy the holiday with your family, and enjoy this special Labor Day edition of my newsletter.
These days, it’s easy for free-market conservatives to distrust labor unions because of their corrupt leaders or one-sided politics. For instance, Joe Biden wants to take the much-hated AB-5 law that was destroying California’s gig economy nationwide because that would greatly empower labor unions while harming individual workers who have benefited from the freedoms offered by new innovative technologies to create their own jobs and pick their working hours.
But Labor Day reminds us of that historic era when unions were more interested in protecting workers than in protecting the jobs of union bosses and Democrats. Labor Day observances unofficially began around the turn of the 20th century as a celebration of the union movement, which was fighting truly dangerous and exploitative working conditions, not to mention violent strike-busting tactics. Those kinds of conditions are not beneficial to labor or management.
Workers who get good pay, reasonable hours and a safe workplace are motivated to work harder and make their employers profitable. America’s prosperity and world leader status were the result of shared benefits between labor and management. Recruiting good employees, treating them well, and giving them a stake in the outcome is good business. When labor and management are partners, everyone wins: stockholders, management, workers, and most importantly, consumers.
Before the Chinese unleashed a virus that knocked the wind out of our economy, President Trump wasn't just helping to bring back jobs, but the strong job market and record low unemployment meant companies had to offer higher pay and more benefits to attract good workers. That's how getting government out of the way of job creation benefits everyone. It can come back just as quickly, if the voters don't fall for lies from the proponents of big government and vote against their best interests.
So business owners, value your workers. Workers, treat management as your partner in success. And slackers, goldbricks and goof-offs, please go work for a company that’s already on the decline, so you can just go down together.
EMPLOYMENT IS MORE THAN AN ECONOMIC ISSUE
We hear a lot of talk from politicians about values…but do we truly value work and the people who do it?
Companies should pay employees as generously as they can, because good workers have worth. This is why you should always be skeptical of any politician who claims to “care” about workers, but also wants to raise taxes, both on workers and businesses. When taxes are high, it’s a sign that the government disrespects the worker by believing that what it will do with their salary is better than what the person who earned it will do. When we see employees as having worth, we see their work as valuable. That’s the value of work. I believe YOU are valuable and therefore what you DO has value.
I think a lot of politicians don’t understand that a job is more than just a way to put bread on the table. From man’s beginnings as recorded in the book of Genesis, we were hard-wired for labor. God told us to earn our bread by the sweat of our brow. It’s natural for us to want to prove our value by producing.
From the time we are children, we imitate our parents in their work. It’s part of our DNA to want to be grown up, and one sure way to feel grown up is to work. That’s why the loss of a job is far, far more than an economic setback. It’s de-humanizing to want to be productive and not be able. There is pride and dignity in sitting down to a meal that your work provided.
The CDC studied suicide rates since 1928 and found that they mirrored the economy. Suicides took a big uptick during the Great Depression. They plunged during World War II, and spiked again in the recessions of the mid-70’s and early 80’s. Suicides dropped to their lowest levels ever in the year 2000, when the tech boom dropped unemployment to just 4 percent. But after the dot-com bubble burst, America's suicide rate began steadily climbing. Recently, because of the endless shutdowns forcing people not to be able to go back to work, we’re seeing a new spike in suicides.
It’s a stark reminder that employment is more than an economic issue. Good jobs and rewarding labor save lives by making us feel that we're valued and needed. A government handout might provide bare sustenance, but it doesn’t feed the soul. It only demoralizes us.
FREE EXCERPT OF THE THREE Cs THAT MADE AMERICA GREAT: CHRISTIANITY, CAPITALISM, AND THE CONSTITUTION.
My new book with Steve Feazel, “The Three C’s That Made America Great: Christianity, Capitalism and the Constitution,” is available for order now at Amazon, and you can now read a free excerpt from it at the link.
I hope you’ll get the book, read it, and pass copies on to all of your friends and relatives who think they’re well-informed about history and current events because they watch Rachel Maddow and Stephen Colbert. You can explain to them that all those pages in the back with the little numbers on them are footnotes that list the original sources for historical facts. They’ve probably never seen anyone cite an actual historical fact before.
HOW TO STOP STUDENTS FROM FALLING PREY TO SOCIALISM
I got a comment from a reader arguing that one reason young people fall prey to socialism (aside from being brainwashed by their teachers) is that they feel the capitalist system is failing them. They were told they had to get college degrees if they wanted good jobs, and encouraged to take out huge student loans. Now, they’re saddled with crippling debt, and those degrees aren’t opening the doors to jobs that pay enough to ever get out of the hole.
I admit that’s a serious problem, but electing people who will expand the very policies that raise taxes, kill jobs and wages, and make college ridiculously expensive and degrees useless (is anyone other than George Soros hiring people who studied how to overthrow the US government? is not going to help.
And promises to pay off everyone’s student loans are just a bait-and-switch. Your student loan debt might disappear, but your tax bill will double or triple. Will that solve your problem? And talk about redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich! People who never attended college will pay higher taxes to pay off the college loan debts of lawyers and others at higher income levels.
We need action on a number of fronts for young people to be able to access the American dream. First, we do need to restructure student loans, so that rates are lowered and terms easier to handle. Government policies need to be aimed at helping grow the economy and encourage private sector expansion, so that jobs are plentiful and wages keep rising. And future generations need to be taught to be more judicious in choosing majors, or that maybe college isn’t the only alternative. There are many good-paying jobs in skilled trades that employers desperately need to fill (just ask Mike Rowe.) There’s dignity in all work, and it’s a heck of a lot better to be a busy, well-paid plumber or mechanic than an angry, unemployed poli-sci or gender studies major (they obviously have way too much free time on their hands these days.)
Besides, as many of our recent political leaders have proven beyond a doubt, having an Ivy League degree is no guarantee of superior intelligence, ability or even basic competence. It might just mean that your parents bought the school a gym. Academic credentials are fine, but they don’t mean as much to me as native intelligence, a strong work ethic and an eagerness to learn.
Before I entered politics, I worked with a fellow named Gary Underwood to build a community TV station on a shoestring budget. Gary had no formal education in television production, but he figured out things, like how to make work lights from Sam’s Club do as studio lights, and how to run lights and a camera off a car battery so we could do remotes. If he’d had formal training, he might’ve told me it was impossible on our budget and given up. But since he wasn’t a "trained expert," he found ways to do the impossible. Later on, he ran media operations for the Arkansas Governor’s Office for me.
There are people with more education than others, and who certainly think they’re smarter than the rest of us. But you’d be hard pressed to find people with more “smarts” than someone like Gary. Have you ever heard it said that someone was “educated beyond their intelligence”? We’ve got plenty of people like that. Washington is crawling with so many Harvard and Yale alums that if they could all get a tuition refund, they could probably pay off the national debt. And frankly, many of them should demand a refund.
As both a Governor and a business owner, I’ve hired a lot of employees over the years. Some would figure out how to get something done, while others would spend more time explaining why it couldn’t be done than it would’ve taken to do it! Give me a smart person with a can-do attitude any day over one with an expensive education who lacks the resourcefulness to solve problems with whatever is available.
Remember the story of the eminent scientist who proved through incontrovertible laws of physics, gravity and aerodynamics that it was impossible for a bumblebee to fly? The bumblebee ignored all his arguments about how flying was impossible and flew anyway. The moral: If you want to succeed, be like a bumblebee and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t fly.
THE LONG FIGHT AGAINST MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY
For six decades, Labor Day meant an American tradition: the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. MDA ended its association with Lewis in 2010, although the telethon continued in ever-shorter form until its final broadcast in 2014. But the association of Labor Day with helping the MDA continues. Some local areas still host telethons, and firefighters across America are out this holiday weekend at intersections, collecting cash for their “Fill the Boot” drive. If you see them, I hope you’ll dig into your pocket and give generously.
And the national organization this year is bringing back the Telethon in a new “COVID-19/Zoom”-friendly way. You can learn more and donate directly at their website: https://www.mda.org/telethon
Although Jerry Lewis passed away a few years ago at 91, active right up until the end, I’m sure that he would want you to continue giving generously and remember that it’s about helping the kids. In fact, while Jerry made the telethon the success that it became, he wasn’t the one who started it all rolling. He gave credit for sparking his six-decade mission to wipe out muscular dystrophy to another man -- a man you’ve probably never heard of. Jerry kept the story secret for many years, until the publication of his memoir, “Jerry Lewis in Person.”
Jerry recalled that it was in 1948. He was 22, and he and Dean Martin were the hottest comedy team in show business. His good friend and press agent, Jack Keller, had helped make them stars, but never requested a single thing for himself -- until one day, he came to Jerry and begged a favor. He had a friend who was in trouble and asked if Jerry would talk to him. His name was Paul Cohen. He’d had MD since childhood, and he’d started a group called the Muscular Dystrophy Association to fight it. They had a few patients, their parents and nothing much else.
By chance, Jerry knew someone whose nephew had had MD. He said he’d watched helplessly as that child had withered like a leaf in the winter, and the effect of seeing that would never leave his mind until a cure was found. So he agreed to meet with the handful of doctors who knew anything about MD at the time. They weren’t encouraging. They warned him that research was in the Dark Ages. Nobody even knew what caused MD, and no known medicines helped. It was like fighting an invisible killer. But that just made Jerry more determined to take it on.
He and Dean began hosting fundraisers…until one night, Jerry jokingly ad-libbed at the end of their TV show that viewers should each send in two dollars. He was stunned when over $2,000 arrived in the mail. And that’s when it hit him: the power of television to raise money for charity. So in 1951, Jack Keller put together a special hosted by Dean and Jerry. It aired on just one station and raised $68,000 (over $671,000 in today’s dollars), and the MDA telethon was off and running.
Over the next six decades, Jerry Lewis’ tireless work on his Labor Day telethons helped raised well over a billion dollars to fight neuromuscular diseases and help the victims and their families. He also inspired millions of Americans to join in the effort. That’s why so many Americans will always associate him with Labor Day.
But let’s also salute an unsung hero. If you think one person can’t make a difference, remember that the Labor Day tradition that raised over a billion dollars to help children with MD started because a man you’d never heard of, Jack Keller…for the first time in his life…asked someone for a favor. And as Jerry observed, it was no surprise to him that the favor was a request to help someone else.
So when you see a firefighter out collecting for MDA, doing his or her bit to help the kids, please do your bit and toss something into the boot. You'd be amazed how all those individual efforts add up.
BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY (NIV)