BY MIKE HUCKABEE
Blessings on you and your family from all the Huckabee staff! Today is Labor Day, which is sometimes jokingly described as the day when Americans honor work 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.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
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These days, it’s easy for free market conservatives to distrust labor unions because of their corrupt leaders or one-sided politics (more on that later.) But Labor Day reminds us of that era in history when unions were more interested in protecting workers than in protecting the jobs of union bosses and Democrat politicians. 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. Currently, businesses are offering higher wages and benefits to attract employees only because the government has been making it easier for them not to work than to work. Now, they’re not only paying their voters’ current bills at taxpayer expense, they’re paying off their old debts, too. But the endless giveaways on the tab of productive workers and our grandchildren are unsustainable, as our $30.8 trillion national debt (up by $2.1 trillion from just one year ago) proves.
Unfortunately, we are living through a dangerous period in which both the White House and Congress are in the hands of a party that is openly hostile to capitalism and doesn’t have clue how businesses work. They’re mostly interested in using government to exercise raw power and to throw another trillion dollars a week of other people’s money onto their dumpster fire of fiscal responsibility. One of the major reasons they are in power is because of the support, monetary and otherwise, of powerful union leaders. For instance, Biden was recently hailed as the most “pro-union President ever,” thanks to his support of laws forcing workers to join unions against their will, and his proclivity for creating so many new unionized government jobs, like those 87,000 new IRS agents.
Union leaders are supposed to be looking out for workers, but does anyone seriously believe that the politicians they’ve helped install into power are primarily concerned with what American workers think are their best interests, as they demonize patriotic working Americans as “semi-fascists,” crush American industries, tax-away job-creating business profits and drive jobs and American capitol back overseas to nations like Saudi Arabia and China?
A union is supposed to act as the voice of its workers, but too many unions today prioritize advancing the Democrats over that. For instance, many energy and pipeline industry workers supported Trump, but their bosses worked to elect Biden…who, upon taking office, promptly picked up his executive order pen and stabbed them in the back with it, killing the Keystone XL Pipeline project, going to war on domestic energy production, and destroying many good-paying union jobs. Union bosses pretended to be shocked that he did exactly what he’d long promised to do by trying to destroy our domestic fossil fuel industry. Likewise, his open border policy that’s flooding the nation with illegal immigrants is taking away job opportunities and driving down wages for low-skilled American workers. This is particularly hard on minority workers, who were finally seeing real wage increases for the first time in decades under Trump.
I also hear these days from a lot of teachers who are horrified at the socialist indoctrination, racist “Critical Race Theory” and graphic and inappropriate LGBTQ sexual propaganda their leftist union bosses expect them to teach, but they’re terrified to speak up about it. One Connecticut assistant principal recently spilled the beans by revealing how they illegally refuse to hire any teachers who are religious, Catholic, conservative or over 30 because they figure they’re more likely to resist brainwashing their students with leftism. Is that how today’s unions “give the workers a voice,” by making them afraid to speak their minds for fear of losing their jobs?
Maybe the union bosses think it’s worth it if the Democrats can shove through their PRO Act bill that would essentially unionize the entire economy. Booster claim polls show Americans strongly support it, but that’s because the people selling it as a piñata of goodies that will empower workers and protect their rights, but they haven’t been told that it’s actually full of poison pills that will kill the economy and their jobs and force Americans to hand over billions of dollars in union dues to union bosses, along with much of their freedom to choose how and when they will work. It would repeal state right-to-work laws and destroy the modern freelance/gig/contract worker economy that many workers prefer.
It’s no wonder that when given a choice, many workers stop paying union dues because they believe their unions aren’t doing enough to deserve them and are actively working against their interests and personal beliefs.
I have nothing against unions in theory, and they did a lot of good in the early 20th century to give workers a voice, to protect their safety and to assure fair wages and reasonable working conditions. But like most things that become entangled in Democrat politics, they forgot their original mission and became corrupt. Like much of our federal Deep State, they’ve outlived their time but are so embedded into our system that they’re now concerned chiefly with protecting and expanding their own power even at the expense of the people they claim to be serving.
That’s why on Labor Day, we can reflect on the positive historical role that unions played a century ago, but mostly, I prefer to think of it as a day to celebrate today’s American workers: the people who put in a hard day’s work, sweating through their clothes on farms and in factories…those who don police and firefighter uniforms and rush toward danger when the rest of us are running away from it…and the ones who kept working through the pandemic, from the doctors and nurses to the truckers, delivery drivers and grocery shelf stockers, to keep the rest of us supplied with the necessities of life. The ones who are literally, and figuratively, carrying the load for those who can’t or won’t.
These are the real heroes of America who deserve a holiday in their honor. So this Labor Day's for you!
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The Value of Work
We hear a lot of talk from politicians about values…but do we truly value work and the people who do it? Labor Day seems like a good time to think about that question, especially in a time where our elites seem more out of touch and contemptuous of working people than at any time since the French Revolution.
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.
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 to stop working, we saw 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.
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How to prevent young people 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 it won't be solved by electing people who will expand the very policies that raise taxes, kill jobs and wages, and encourage making college even more ridiculously expensive and pursuing useless degrees. And promising to “forgive” student loan debt is just a bait-and-switch. Your student loan debt might disappear, but your tax bill will double or triple, while colleges will raise tuition to take advantage of the new government subsidy. Will that solve your problem? And talk about redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich! Working people who never attended college will pay higher taxes to pay off the college loan debts of lawyers, doctors, lobbyists and Ivy League grads.
We need action on a number of fronts for young people to be able to access the American dream. I’ll lay out a few proposals, knowing there’s no chance of them being put into effect until after the next two elections.
First, we do need to restructure student loans, so that rates are lowered and terms easier to handle. It would also help if states that control the colleges’ purse strings would make them pull back on the leftist indoctrination, speech policing, racial discrimination and propaganda about things like logic and productivity being “white surpremacy,” and instead go back to teaching things that can help students get decent jobs.
Government policies need to be aimed at helping grow the economy and encourage private sector expansion and business creation instead of punishing it, so that jobs are plentiful and wages keep rising. We need to stop using our tax code and unemployment system to disincentivize work and success. Future generations need to be taught to be more judicious in choosing majors, or that maybe college isn’t the only alternative. Just as the pandemic sped up evolution of the work-from-home movement, it also introduced many people to learning from home. Did you know that you can now watch all of MIT’s classes on YouTube for free?
There are also many good-paying jobs in skilled trades that employers desperately need to fill (just ask Mike Rowe.) Trade school is faster and cheaper than college, and doesn’t come with a heaping side order of communism. 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, underemployed gender studies major (they obviously have way too much free time on their hands these days.)
Besides, as our current 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 these days. 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, based on their competence and intelligence, many of them should demand a tuition 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.
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