Times are tough on this Labor Day. You can’t pick up a newspaper or visit a news website without seeing discouraging reports on employment, manufacturing, housing, and other economic indicators. Labor Day marks the traditional end of summer and beginning of autumn — which means that the “Recovery Summer” has come and gone, with nary a recovery in sight.
What does it all mean? Different observers are reaching fundamentally different conclusions. This writer thinks our economic problems are attributable to the fact that American workers are not as unionized as their European counterparts and are powerless to stop capitalist employers from taking advantage of a bad job market. This writer thinks we need to cut taxes and cut regulations that may be hindering small business growth and job creation. Others say we need to cut government spending before the American economy becomes permanently crippled by unsustainable levels of government debt. In direct contrast, still others, like this columnist, urge the government to engage in even more stimulus spending.
It seems that the only thing everyone can agree on this Labor Day 2010 is that there is no consensus on how to proceed. This may be a good thing, however. We have an election coming up, and Americans will be presented with political choices that reflect different economic philosophies. With no “expert” consensus to bludgeon them, I think the average American will fall back on their common sense and be guided by their own experiences in deciding how to vote. The collective decision-making of average Americans, acting on their own common sense and practical experience, have tended to serve America well in the past.