Labor Day: Hard work built our nation

Today, Labor Day, by tradition has become an occasion for Americans to recognize the importance of hard work and, yes, to pat ourselves on the back.

That is appropriate because we, not the government, drive the economy. We built it, we made it the envy of the world and we made it an engine of prosperity at a level simply impossible with other economic systems.

Much of that happened because of good, old-fashioned, sweat-of-the-brow hard work.

But there is more. Americans’ storied ingenuity, combined with the risks taken by both small and large businesses, also are factors in success.

Try telling the owner of a small restaurant, who invested his own money in equipment and works 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week, that he didn’t build his business. Try telling that to the steelworker who probably works harder than 99 percent of the people in Washington, D.C., and has agreed to contract concessions to keep his company afloat.

Today, we pause to celebrate our successes, whether in putting food on our own tables or building small businesses.

We did this. We built this nation. We have to struggle day in and day out to stay afloat and, with any luck, get ahead just a little bit.