This Labor Day, Let's Focus on Putting Americans Back to Work

As Americans celebrate Labor Day, they're forced to reckon with some tough facts about the state of our country's workforce.

Despite the Left's tone-deaf efforts to declare victory on the economy, America's labor force participation rate has been falling, and stood at just 62.9 percent in July -- its lowest point since 1978, when Jimmy Carter occupied the Oval Office. These figures represent millions of Americans who have disappeared from the country's workforce, no longer working or even seeking work.

Outside of Washington, D.C.'s "Beltway Bubble," ordinary Americans are feeling the effects of the liberals' ill-advised agenda. Middle-class families understand that instead of helping, the policies espoused by President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are actually making things considerably worse -- effectively waging a war on work that could change our country in terrible ways.

The editorial board of West Virginia's Charleston Daily Mail writes that Obamacare's effects on the labor market are both "astounding and alarming," as "the law is doing to the economy exactly what its critics predicted" by making it more costly to employ Americans in full-time jobs. The result of this misguided policy, the paper continues, is that "[e]mployers are replacing full-time positions with part-time work to avoid the mandate of providing health care insurance."

We witnessed a real life example of this in Major League Baseball recently, when officials were forced to call off a game because, as the Daily News reports, the Chicago Cubs' "grounds crew couldn't cover the playing surface before [a] downpour." The reason? "Earlier that night, Cubs management had sent home 10 workers, in part to keep them under 30 hours a week -- and avoid paying health benefits under the Affordable Care Act."

And as the Daily Mail notes, the research confirming that this sort of thing is happening throughout the economy "is the finding not of some conservative think tank, but of the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia, which surveyed employers directly about Obamacare's influence on employment, compensation and benefits."

In fact, studies by no fewer than four Federal Reserve Banks -- those in Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, and Dallas -- have found Obamacare to be harming job-creators, workers, and our economy as a whole. Data from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) backs that up, with the number-crunchers' most recent report noting that "certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act will tend to reduce labor force participation."

This is the result of Obamacare -- a law that Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and their liberal allies in Washington consider to be their crowing public policy achievement.

Americans deserve better.

The authors of YG Network's acclaimed book, Room To Grow, offer a superior vision for a thriving middle class, grounded in compassion, commonsense, hard work, and proven conservative principles.

Room To Grow contributor Michael Strain reminds us of the tragic consequences of long-term unemployment and argues that Americans need an approach that "empowers individuals and supports their aspirations--giving them the chance to leader flourishing lives through work." In his chapter, Scott Winship proposes safety net reforms that "protect the vulnerable and expand the middle class," and Robert Stein offers smart tax reforms to "strengthen the economy and lighten the burdens families bear." And Carrie Lukas offers overburdened families a series of smart reforms that would help workers balance the demands of their jobs and their families -- an all-too-often overlooked aspect of strengthening America's workforce -- noting that "one-size-fits-all government solutions" don't work well for today's working families, who "have very different preferences about balancing work and family."

The concrete proposals put forth in Room To Grow offer Americans a workable, principled, optimistic vision for the future of our families, communities and country.

We could start right now putting people back to work, and address America's big challenges by embracing these new ideas -- but unfortunately Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and their fellow liberal elected officials in Washington refuse to even acknowledge that their big-government policies have failed and they have no other ideas to offer.

Their failed, liberal leadership remains the greatest hurdle American families face as they struggle onward in an economy that won't let them get ahead. And that's a sad fact for Americans to reflect upon this Labor Day.