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Without the Hateful Rhetoric

Redirecting the Circular Firing Squad

Is America losing its Work Ethic?

Today, Labor Day, I think about all of the work that went into building the United States of America. No, I’m not talking about government or political will. I am thinking about basic things like infrastructure, building better tools and developing things that few people knew we needed. The ingenuity, risk-taking and long, hard work days by American citizens have grown this country, less than 250 years old, into the wealthiest, most powerful and most benevolent nation in the world. No, we are not a perfect nation. Human beings aren’t perfect. However, over time, we have recognized many flaws and have worked to correct them.

Why is it that America has accomplished so much in relatively little time (as the life of nations go)? I think it is our work ethic. The experiment that was initiated when our founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, in my opinion, has been the key. It gave people the freedom to step out and try new things. The risk takers started businesses, some hoping to gain wealth and others just wanting to have more control of their own destiny. The creative lot explored new ways of doing things. Inventions like the automobile, air planes, spacecraft, computers and more were all made possible by those before them who harnessed electricity, experimented with oil and developed ways of building with steel, aluminum and other alloys. Those who just wanted to work hard to take care of their families could do that. They had the freedom to seek new and better jobs. They could work multiple jobs, if they chose, all with the hopes that their children might go to college or learn a trade and work to build their own lives, whatever they sought for themselves.

In this COVID era, I wonder if that work ethic is slipping away. America’s labor participation rate for July has slipped from 66.5% in 2002 to 62.1% in 2022. Fewer people, for whatever reason are wanting to work. Companies can’t find employees to hire. We have all seen a general decline in service due to a lack of workers and yet more people are choosing to sit on the sidelines and not get a job.

Since 2020, the US government and state governments have doled out trillions of dollars to citizens. To nearly all citizens. It doesn’t matter if they are unemployed, well employed, or retired and enjoying the middle class financial status that they worked so hard to put in place. Free money goes to nearly everybody. Now even college graduates making $125,000 per year (and in some cases more) are having student debt taken away to be paid by all taxpayers. I wonder if some people aren’t opting out of the job market because work is no longer necessary to get an income. Are we beginning to get lazy? Are we starting to become comfortable with the notion that it is the government’s responsibility to take care of us?

I am, by nature, optimistic but I don’t believe we are losing our work ethic. As long as the government doesn’t attempt to manipulate hard work=reward equation, people will return to the work ethic that made America what it is today.

I look forward to seeing what the people of America are able to accomplish in the future. The ingenuity, the risk-taking and the hard work of millions will serve to make America stronger, wealthier and even more benevolent than ever. There are still new things to be developed that we don’t know we need!

We are truly blessed to live in America, where hard work almost always pays off and each person’s new horizon is open for them to pursue.



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Douse the Hateful Rhetoric

Redirecting the Circular Firing Squad

Jack Meyer is also a fiction writer.  Check out his suspense thriller, Wayward Patriot to be released soon.

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