LaborTalk for September 5, 2011

Obama's Labor Day Proclamation Praises Workers,
But Masks the Harsh Realities They Must Endure

By Harry Kelber

Since 1894, after Labor Day became a federal holiday, there have been annual celebrations by unions of the economic and social contributions of working people to our economy and society. There usually are many parades, picnics, speeches and special events to honor past generations of leaders and their achievements.

President Barack Obama, following the tradition established by former President Grover Cleveland, issued a Labor Day Proclamation that began: "Every day hard-working men and women across America prove that even in difficult times, our country is still home to the most creative, dynamic and talented workers in the world. . .these men and women hold the power of the Nation in their hands." (Have workers become that powerful?)

The Proclamation also promotes Obama's stated view that "in America, anyone who works hard and responsibly can provide a better future for their children." (Are the 14 millions of unemployed mostly "loafers?")

Obama Is a Master at Words to Avoid Difficult Actions

And can you believe Obama, who says: "When we all come together, there is no limit to what the American workforce can do?" (End the widening gap between the rich and the poor?)

Obama says he believes in collective bargaining. (Yet he has not criticized Verizon for refusing to comply with this basic labor right.

There is not even a mention of the word "war," (Why not? Aren't millions of Americans concerned about how the Obama administration plans to end the war in Afghanistan?

The President reminds us how a few years back, the country was pulled back "from the brink" through a series of tough economic decisions" He Is referring to his $789 stimulus package in early 2009. (But he is silent on sponsoring a second stimulus package now, when there is hardly any growth in job hiring)

In defending his record, Obama says his administration is working tirelessly each day to promote policies to get Americans back to work, (With such "tireless" "efforts, why have so little been accomplished?"

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In criticizing Obama, we feel there is still hope that he will stop relying on top Wall Street financial experts and listen to those who advised him in his 2008 presidential victory. For his new-election campaign, he must stop making concessions to the Republicans in the vein hope that he will gain their cooperation. Their goal is to defeat him in the 2012 elections.

The President's speech before the joint session of Congress on Thursday will tell us whether he has a practical plan to create a massive jobs program, and how and when it will be done. There will be plenty of skeptics watching the speech.

Americans have read and heard millions of words about proposals from hundreds of economists on how to move forward with a job-creating program. Now is the time to make it happen.

The several millions of workers, who have been unable to find a job for 27 weeks or more, can't wait forever.

LaborTalk will be posted here on September 7, 2011 and on our two web sites www.laboreducator.org and on www.laborsvoiceforchange.org.

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