Welcome to Labor Day—the calendar’s signal that the August doldrums are behind us, and that it’s time for a long slog toward “The Holidays” and the inevitable pedal-to-the-floor pace of an election year.
It’s sometimes hard to remember that almost none of the political battles we’ve fought over the past 8 months are over novel issues. Jobs, the economy, dealing with foreign governments—it has all been done before, in some form or another.
Today, let Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Labor Day message remind you why conservatives should fight for principles—not just for or against haphazard policies that come and go with each new President or Congress. Give it a read—you’ll find some familiar themes. [Emphasis mine]:
Today, we pay tribute to America’s working men and women, and I join with all Americans in celebrating the dignity and productivity of our working people. Labor Day brings a fitting opportunity to salute those who built our great nation and whose spirit, hard work and courage are now building a new era of lasting economic expansion filled with greater opportunities for all our people.
America is on the move again. We’re witnessing the fastest rate of job creation in the world—7 million jobs in the last year and a half—and today, more Americans are working than ever before. The erosive effect of inflation on workers’ paychecks has ended, and the increase in after-tax personal income is the largest in our history.
A rising economy and greater opportunity give us confidence, but our work is far from finished. Too many of our fellow Americans are still out of work or down on their luck. We must not and will not rest until everyone who wants a job has found one, until all Americans can reach as high as their vision and talents take them. We must and we will make certain that the American dream remains a springtime of hope for all our people. Meaningful work, not welfare, is every American’s hope, and we have a continuing responsibility to make those hopes a lasting reality.
Labor Day, 1984, also finds American workers facing many new and different challenges and opportunities. The nature of our labor is changing rapidly. Occupations unheard of just ten years ago are opening up opportunities. America’s future growth and prosperity depend on how well we take advantage of these opportunities.
We must also compete effectively in foreign markets. Exports account for 25 percent of the total value of all goods produced in our country. Exports mean jobs for our people and growth for our economy. We’re committed to keeping markets open to free trade, and to make them grow.
As America’s workers enjoy this holiday, let us all be thankful for the prosperity we have achieved and let us work together to meet the challenges ahead and turn them into opportunities for all Americans.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. For those of you who have the day off, enjoy the holiday! For those of you still working hard today, thank you.
h/t to the Washington Times, who has Reagan’s 1981 message posted in their Editorial section.
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