Credit: © Blend Images-REX Caption: Worker clocking in

By Brett Arends, 

Let's just scrap Labor Day, shall we?
After all, if we're not going to treat the working man or woman with respect in this country, why don't we just stop pretending?
If we're just going to stick it to the working stiff 364 days a year, we might as well be honest and make it 365.
According to U.S. government data, in the past 12 months the working people of America have received about the smallest share of national economic output since at least World War II.
They've been under pressure for decades, but the real free fall has been since 2000.
When you adjust for inflation, real median household income is down about 10 percent since the start of the millennium and is now lower than it was in 1989. No kidding.
For the past 35 years, the American economy has "persistently redistributed rewards away from workers and toward shareholders," wrote economists Daniel Greenwald and Sydney Ludvigson, of New York University, and Martin Lettau, at the University of California at Berkeley, in a recent paper
They calculated that this trend, not "rising productivity" or technology, is the main reason the stock market has done so well over that time.
Our grandparents would be amazed at how America treats the working man and woman today. Let us count the ways.
1. Taxes
Back in the Middle Ages, the monarchies of Europe used to rank people as aristocrats, merchants or peasants. Aristocrats got treated best, peasants the worst.
Today? Here in America a kid who buses tables pays an effective tax rate of 25 percent (including the full cost of the payroll tax) on everything he earns, and the rate quickly goes higher.
Meanwhile a tycoon who makes a few million a year from long-term capital gains pays a maximum rate of 24 percent.
And the kid who inherits a few million dollars from rich parents? No tax at all. Peasants, indeed.
2. Language
Say goodbye to Rosie the Riveter. During World War II, Americans took it for granted that the people who worked were the backbone of the country and the drivers of the economy.
Investors and business owners are "wealth creators."
Business executives who sit around in the C-suite talking to consultants? They’re "leaders."
And what about the grunts who actually make the products and provide the services? They're "labor costs." 'Nuff said.
3. The office
Work longer hours and don't complain, or you may find your position has been eliminated in the next round of layoffs.
Make yourself "invaluable" to management. Suck up to them in a major way or you may have to hit the road.
Do extra work for free. Actually, if you're an intern do all your work for free. Get mommy and daddy to raid their retirement savings to pay your bills so your employer doesn’t have to.
Why, if you work for management for free for long enough, they may even have a poorly paid position to offer you. Maybe.
Meanwhile, try not to laugh when your CEO speaks out in favor of raising the minimum wage.
Oh, and the management has just created a new "ethics" department. But if you think it's there to make management treat the office drones more ethically, think again. It's a way for management to terrorize you further with needless rules, compliance procedures and training.
4. Borders
A generation or two ago, business leaders made a marvelous discovery. All sorts of jobs which used to be performed by well-paid workers in safe, regulated and environmentally sensitive factories could instead be performed by slaves in Third World sweatshops -- sweatshops so bad that the workers are committing suicide while toxic chemicals are being dumped into their rivers.
It was genius. At a stroke, businesses were able to get around a century's accumulated labor and environmental regulations. They called it "free trade," and everyone said it was wonderful because all our factory workers would then be able to get jobs as consultants.
However, not all jobs can be "offshored" like this. If you own a mansion in Massachusetts, for example, you can't send your hedges to Guatemala to be trimmed. If you're growing lettuce in California, you can't send the vegetables to Brazil to be picked. If you're running a fancy restaurant in Beverly Hills, you can't ship your dirty dishes to China every night to be washed.
What’s the solution? Easy! Business discovered that if you can't ship the job to the Third World, you can bring the Third World to the job. Open the borders. Turn a blind eye as desperately poor immigrants come in, willing to do almost any job at almost any price.
And, best of all, don't present this as an issue of economics. Present it as an issue of race. You're helping the Third World! You're being generous!
And meanwhile all sorts of Americans -- black, Hispanic, white, Asian and so on -- see their wages eroded and their bargaining power slip away. But they can't speak out, since that would make them . . . racist.
Happy Labor Day. Enjoy your hot dogs.