September 5th, 2011
05:12 PM ET

Letters to the President: #959 'In praise of those who work'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is celebrating Labor Day by working. Other than writing this letter, I'm taking a break.

Dear Mr. President,

A very happy Labor Day to you! Although I hate to see summer coming to a close, it has been a good one in our house, so I can't complain. And even though in your house it has been a tad bumpy, hey...you're President of the United States, you just came back from vacation, and you have Biden around for laughs...how bad can it be?

I like Labor Day and I always have, because for all the good fortune I've enjoyed in my life, I've still always fundamentally seen myself as a laboring type. I think it was my upbringing. My mom and dad always had the greatest respect for true working folks when we were young. As we always saw it, on any given day the president of a company could be gone, or golfing, or waylaid by gravediggers and most people wouldn't know it. But let a key person on the job go sick for just a few hours and the whole place might shudder to a halt.

I still sort of feel that way. For my money, the heroes of our society (with all respect) are not the presidents, and CEO's, and generals and the like; but rather the regular people who wage a daily battle to get their jobs done; often for little pay, less respect, and in the worst conditions. Sure, the big shots at the top may be responsible for the overriding strategy and ideas, but without the rank and file, you are nothing.

Given a choice, I'd take Labor Day over Presidents Day any year; because this is a holiday about all of us, not just a privileged few.

I have a bowl of shrimp, some juicy steaks, and a hot grill waiting for me. Got to go. But call later if you like.


soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Barb Neafcy

    It's so good to hear you share these thoughts Tom. I saw snippets of some commentators on a conservative station saying that increasing taxes for the wealthy is punishing the backbone of society's most productive members, the wealthy CEO's. I got to thinking that if these news anchors came in as a patient to my unit (Cardiac Care), how unproductive would we lowly nurses appear be if it was his life and heart that we saved. Some people need a lesson in the importance of real work. You know that and so does our President. There is a huge chunk in Congress that hasn't gotten that. They must let the rich get richer. It's all they know. 🙁

    September 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  2. Linda Bergmann

    Thanks Tom! You are right! My son is coming home from the Army after 10 & 1/2 years for good this month... I wonder what work is going to be available for him now that he's been battered & wounded? It's a price that I'm thinking now has been way too high! So thanks to all who have worked & served for us! Happy Labor Day Everybody!

    September 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  3. Victor in Celebration, FL

    I want to ad, kudos to those workers who believe in tomorrow and are investing in property and land. Everytime they do it save one more person from foreclosure! I became a Realtor soley because of this economy, I could not get a job! But I believed in tomorrow and my customers do as well. A rare few say, "I'll wait I think there is trouble ahead." With an attitude like that, there will be. So kudos to workers who invest in our country!

    September 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  4. Fred Jinkins - Artist

    Tom this is a good letter, cheerful, humorous and full of good will. I like reading it. I wonder what you think about the
    high frequeny trading at the stock market? I feel like it is taking away any fair trading chance for the average individual
    investor. I want the regulators to tax these high frequency trades on a basis that is fairer to the rest of us.
    Best regards, Fred – The Happy Old Artist

    September 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  5. Diana Legg

    I totally agree with Tom that it is the ordinary workers who keep things going in the economy and I's so glad we have a day set aside to recognize that. I am looking forward to President Obamas address on the economy Thursday and hope he will come out for real programs that will put people to work; for example public works projects that will put thousands to work while repairing our broken iinfrastructure. He also needs to lead the way and call for an end to the Bush tax cuts. To suggest as some Republicans have, that we can no longer afford the basic social safety net for the disadvantaged or job training programs for the unemployed yet can afford huge tax breaks for CEOs and billionaires is not only immoral but bad fiscal policy since those who have no income have no money to put into the economy.

    September 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm |

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