130 years ago, the nation celebrated its first Labor Day. The holiday is a recognition of all that labor and the labor unions have done for us. Without unions, children would still be working in mines. There would be no holidays from work, no overtime, no workplace safety laws, no minimum wage, I could go on. Without labor, we’d be living in filth and squalor without the modern conveniences we have grown to need. If you ask the modern Republican party though, it’s all about the guy at the top, the guy who apparently does it all himself. On this Labor Day, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is honoring management with this tweet:
In less than 140 characters, Cantor poked a stick in the eyes of the vast majority of Americans, those who are employed by others. There is no shame in not being an entrepreneur. The country needs labor. We need people to build roads. We need people to nurse the sick. We need people to pick our food. We need people to put out our fires. We need people to deliver our goods to Walmart or Whole Foods. We need people to keep us safe from criminals, whether the criminals wear hoodies or custom-made Armani suits. Banks need more tellers than Presidents. We even need people who give their lives, free of charge, to the service of others. Without labor, there would be no management.
It’s no accident that Mitt Romney is the GOP nominee. While it is Barack Obama who is the personification of the American dream, it is Mitt Romney who is the personification of the anti-labor attitude of the Republican party.
Romney was a privileged boy who grew up to start a business of privilege. Bain Capital is not about risk taking. As Robert Reich explains in this video, the only risks involved were people’s jobs and pensions.
The Republican party and Romney are against minimum wage. They are against regulation. They don’t hesitate in using the infrastructure that workers built for them. Without the court system, there would be no business, yet they are happy to let the middle-class foot the bill.
Romney and the GOP detest the American worker and the American taxpayer. This video shows Romney gleefully bragging about scamming the taxpayer out of millions of dollars during his much-touted Salt Lake City Olympics.
The irony in Cantor’s tweets, like the irony in many of the words spoken by Republican leaders, is that Cantor has never built a thing. He, like Romney, was born of privilege. His father’s business was real estate. The only job, outside of the government, that Cantor has held was working for his father.
For Cantor to imply that workers don’t work hard and take risks is hypocritical at best from the man who released last year’s congressional schedule, which included just 109 working days. There was a time, when unions were strong and when loyalty was a two-way street. Labor worked hard, as they always did, only then, they didn’t live in fear that their jobs could be outsourced to near slaves. They didn’t live in fear that their pensions would disappear or that their health insurance would be too expensive to afford. Wages didn’t shrink as management’s compensation grew.
There is a class war, and Cantor and the Republicans have most of the weapons. The only weapon the middle class has ever had are unions and they are all but gone. No one begrudges the true job creators, most of whom are middle class themselves, but we do resent the idea that it is only the super successful that work hard and take risks. We especially resent that we are increasingly treated like pawns in the game of greed.