"Labor Day" is a misnomer, and we're the ones who have made it so, writes EJ Dionne for the Washington Post. Today, and every day in America, we no longer celebrate workers "as the real creators of wealth." We reserve the highest praise for "capital," he explains. "In scores of different ways, we paint investors as the heroes and workers as the sideshow." Consider taxes, which fall more heavily on money made by labor than on gains from capital (a reality only enhanced by the calls to end the payroll tax cut).
We once lived in a land of labor reporters, of working man-focused novelists like John Steinbeck, of TV shows like All in the Family. Dionne quotes the critic William Deresiewicz, who five years ago observed that "first we stopped noticing members of the working class, and now we’re convinced they don’t exist." But that's not entirely true: We do notice they exist, as "'labor costs' cutting into profits and the sacred stock price." Dionne writes that "Capital Day" would be the more appropriate name for today. But while it remains Labor Day, "it should shame us about our cool indifference to the heroism of those who go to work every day."