American Minute with Bill Federer SEPT. 2 -Labor Day-'I call upon ordinary working men of America...do not become weak'-Solzhenitsyn
American Minute with Bill Federer
SEPT. 2 -Labor Day-'I call upon ordinary working men of America...do not become weak'-Solzhenitsyn
Labor Day began over 100 years.
To appreciate it, one needs to know the history preceding it.
At the time the United States was founded, most jobs were agricultural
or in trades, such as blacksmiths, cobblers, bakers, upholsterers, etc.
Industrial Revolution began with the harnessing of water and steam
power, leading to the creation of factories which could mass produce
Most factories were located in the Northern States.
In early United States history, there was no Income Tax.
Federal Government was funded primarily from: Excise Taxes on items
like salt, tobacco, liquor; and Tariff Taxes on imports making them
more expensive, so people would buy goods produced in American
The problem was that the Tariff Taxes that helped
the North, hurt the South, as the South had no factories to protect. At
one point, nearly 90% of the Federal Budget was from Tariff Taxes
collected at Southern Ports, fueling the animosity which led up to the
After the Civil War, the North passed more Tariff Taxes which allowed factories to grow enormous.
and advances in manufacturing made more and more goods available to
the masses of people at cheaper and cheaper prices, resulting in the
fastest increase in the standard of living and per capita income for
common men and women in world history.
Textile manufacturing produced items like clothes, glass, dishes, and farm tools for a fraction of the previous costs.
New ways of making stronger steel led to the building of bridges, buildings, steamboats, and mining machinery.
now could take people safely and inexpensively across the entire
nation opening up unprecedented mobility and opportunity.
Immigrants arriving in America could get jobs working in factories.
George Pullman founded a Pullman Railroad Sleeping Car Company in Illinois just outside of Chicago.
saw that workers needed a place to live, so he built them houses in a
safe little village around the factory. Their rent was deducted from
their paychecks and they were paid in company script.
There were company owned grocery stores. It was thought to be a utopian workers' community and worked well for over a decade.
Then something happened.
In 1893, there was a nationwide economic depression and orders for railroad sleeping cars declined.
Pullman had to lay off hundreds of employees, and make cuts in wages
to the rest, though the rent and groceries stayed the same price.
walked out, demanding lower rents and higher pay. Growing discontent
provided a seedbed for Karl Marx's theory of class struggle and
Communist redistribution of wealth.
A young worker named Eugene V. Debs led a strike of workers, and
railroad workers across the nation boycotted trains carrying Pullman
There was rioting, pillaging, and burning of railroad cars. It became a national issue when mail trains were interrupted.
President Grover Cleveland declared the strike a federal crime and
deployed 12,000 troops to break the strike. More violence erupted, and
two men were killed.
It was an election year, and Grover Cleveland thought it would help his
re-election if he appease the workers, so he pushed through a National
chose the first Monday in September, rather than May 1, as he did not
want it to be in coordination with the Communist "International Workers
Eugene Debs went to prison and Cleveland lost the election, but Labor Day remained a national holiday.
Unions successfully advocated the 8 hour day, the 40 hour work week,
minimum wages, safer working conditions, and more benefits for workers.
With these unprecedented improvements came a consequence: "out-sourcing."
After World War II, America helped rebuild Germany and Japan, and a global economy emerged.
other countries having newer factories and cheaper labor, they could
produce items for less, whereas in America costs continued to increase
-Higher wages; -Increased taxes; -Expensive lawsuits; -Burdensome government regulations; -Greater environmental restrictions; and
-Crony capitalism, where the government favors particular companies
which support a political agenda, leaving other companies at a
These cost increases resulted in American made goods being more
expensive as compared to foreign made goods. As people buy less
American made products, American factories shut down and jobs
In 1950, about 50 percent of workers were union members, but today it has shrunk to around 12 percent.
To bring jobs back to America, the answer is as simple as making it
more profitable for factories to be located here than there.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who spent 11 years in Communist prisons and labor camps, warned on June 30, 1975, in Washington, D.C.:
"I would like to call upon America to be more careful with its trust...
and prevent those...because of short-sightedness and still others out
of self-interest, from falsely using the struggle for peace and for
social justice to lead you down a false road.
Because they are trying to weaken you; they are trying to disarm your
strong and magnificent country in the face of this fearful threat...
I call upon you: ordinary working men of America...do not let yourselves become weak."