Rathbun: Labor DayWritten by Gary Rathbun | | GaryRathbun@PrivateWealthConsultants.com
My dad always found it ironic that we would celebrate Labor Day by not working. He, and eventually I, would always spend the day working with the thought that most of the competition is taking the day off so we have an opportunity to create more and work a little harder.
Coming off of Labor Day and starting the Democratic National Convention, I started thinking about what was instilled in me and how too many people today think that the wealth pie is limited in size. My labor is a resource of sorts, and I can deploy that any way I want to create more money and wealth. The more of my labor I utilize, the bigger the pie gets. If I work more hours that someone else I get paid more; the other person is not diminished at all, he or she just chose to use their resources differently.
Granted, there is more to life than money and wealth and if you choose to watch your kids play ball or play yourself that is fine with me. I choose to work and see if I could increase my wealth.
Now, I know that Labor Day was to give the working man an extra day off. I believe that the working man or woman has generally earned that day off. The trouble is that too many people feel that only the worker and not the businessperson is responsible for the increase in wealth. The bottom line is that the worker would not have a job without the business owner and the business owner would not be able to create his product without the workers.
The workers have a resource that the business owner needs and is willing to pay for. If the price is too high the business owner doesn’t hire and if the wage is too low the worker does not have to work there. Both sides have choices to make and all choices have consequences. When those choices are taken away, with minimum wage laws, layoff notices, hiring quotas, etc., then the free market forces are no longer unrestricted and everyone suffers.
Where a lot of the conflict comes from is workers who want low accountability and ever-more pay for ever-less work. The only group of employees that can thrive in such an environment is government workers. In today’s competitive world economy, governments are mostly exempt from competitive forces.
The competitive forces going forward will be small entrepreneurs, independent contractors, home-based businesses and some entrepreneurial-thinking employees in large corporations.
All this being said, the United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population and is responsible for almost 25 percent of the global manufacturing. No other country comes close. We are producing at almost three times the rate of the 1950s and we are doing it with fewer people. Part of the reason for this is robotics and automation and part of it is the productivity of the American worker.
One of the only things that we can count on is that things will continue to change at a faster and faster pace. We as a country need to be free to produce things and use the resources available to their best and most profitable use. This includes labor.
Only capitalism will make this country solvent again. Only capitalism will decrease unemployment. Only capitalism will make the wealth pie larger.
I hope you enjoyed and celebrated Labor Day this year and I also hope that you realize that the American people are the best in the world. The most generous and caring people in the world and I believe that we can outwork anyone in the world as well.
Gary L. Rathbun is the president and CEO of Private Wealth Consultants, LTD. He can be heard every day on 1370 WSPD at 4:06 p.m. on “After the Bell with Brian Wilson and the Afternoon Drive” and every Wednesday and Thursday evening at 6 throughout Northern Ohio on “Eye on Your Money.” He can be reached at (419) 842-0334 or email him at email@example.com.