Yesterday was Labor Day, a national holiday that celebrates the historic rise of trade unions in America. It’s no stretch at all to say their rise in the middle decades of the 20th century raised this nation’s standard of living for everyone.
Today, union labor in private industry is a pittance (under 7 percent) compared to the 1950s (38 percent). But unions led the way to 40-hour work week and many other benefits non-union workers now enjoy. Employers defensively offered those because they were worried workers at their companies might otherwise be organized.
So what does the most powerful congressman from Virginia do on Labor Day? That would be Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Richmond, the majority leader in the House of Representatives. He issued a statement pretending it’s National Bosses Day, or something like that:
“Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success. I am committed to keeping taxes low and reducing red tape to make it easier for Virginia’s small business owners to start hiring again, create more jobs and ensure a thriving economy for the future so more people can achieve the American dream.”
It’s bizarre. Is Cantor jonesing over the lack of attention he got at the Republican National Convention last week? Is he that starved for attention? It reads like what an actor playing Cantor might say in a Saturday Night Live parody sketch. Was it a clever joke, contrived by someone who wanted to make Cantor look like an idiot?
If it wasn’t a hoax: What is he smoking?
We can only imagine the stuff Eric Cantor might come up with on some future federal holidays.
Veteran’s Day: “Today we celebrate draft dodgers and deserters, men and women who, out of conscience or cowardice, took a risk and stood up — or fled — to avoid the horror of war. I am committed to honoring their sacrifice, and the insults and indignities they endured, as their fellow countrymen allowed themselves to led into senseless battles that squandered the national treasury.”
Christmas: “Today we celebrate the innkeepers and hostel owners of Bethlehem, who turned away Joseph and his pregnant wife, Mary, when they journeyed to town for the census ordered by Caesar Augustus, which forced them to take shelter in a manger. We should learn from their example, and relax housing codes, which will create jobs by encouraging the building of barns for women to give birth in.”
Martin Luther King Day: “Today we celebrate James Earl Ray, a selfless segregationist and patriot in the mold of John Wilkes Booth, and who, in the face of a tide of public opinion to the contrary, stood up for what he believed in, took a risk, and acted upon those beliefs. Such is character that built the American Dream.”
Independence Day: “Today, let us honor those ancestors who journeyed to this great land. They took a risk, worked hard, built businesses, and earned their own success. And they worked tirelessly to preserve this place as a colony for Britain, in the face of rebels and revolutionary activists who refused to bow down to King George III.”
Got any more, folks? Add them as comments.