Inflation Reduction Act Pelosi Neguse

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., head in to speak about the recently-signed Inflation Reduction Act during a news conference at the National Center for Atmospheric Research on Aug. 31 in Boulder.

On this Labor Day, let’s put in proper perspective the current predicament of Colorado’s workers. Americans have continued to set the international standard for work ethic and ingenuity — rising from bed, kissing loved ones goodbye and punching the clock like we always have — all while government actions and market reactions out of workers’ control have disrupted the very foundation upon which we all pursue the American Dream.

What a year it’s been for the family farmer on the Eastern Plains, the trucker in Walsenburg and the single parent who drives delivery at dinnertime for extra cash in Northglenn.

A year ago at this time, many everyday Coloradans of myriad demographic groups got their first taste of generational inflation — once a fleeting far-away idea lost to Econ 101 textbooks until it smacked our wallets silly starting last autumn.

Due to unprecedented government spending and market intervention undertaken in an attempt to ease financial burdens and halt viral spread through the COVID-19 era, the cost of daily living skyrocketed.

It uprooted commonly-held notions of what it takes to financially make it in America.

As inflation has eaten into every household budget further and further, month after month, workers have felt firsthand what shortsighted monetary policy means for the creators of our country. Those, especially with lower incomes, have seen the curtain pulled back on the promise of the $15-an-hour minimum wage touted just a few years ago. Rather than solving everyone’s problems and ushering in a utopia of decreased personal debt, homeownership and overall quality of life, market realities mangled by demand-side principles have manifested just the opposite as “minimum wage” soars beyond $17 per hour.

American workers have also had to wrestle with other workplace variables. How many average Joes and Jills ever uttered the term “supply chain” just three years ago?

But with a government keen on capitalizing on a “new normal,” workers in certain make-the-world-go-round trades — such as janitorial work, bus driving and even lifeguarding — have been stretched thin by the supply-chain woes all while many other able-bodied adults are jaded from joining the workforce.

It’s created, on top of supply-chain choke points, a labor shortage not only for such service gigs as firefighters, police officers and teachers, but such jobs as delivery drivers in an increasingly online consumption world.

Many of these same blue-collar workers, particularly in Colorado’s cities, also have to be cautious of lawless elements out to harm them and their customers — ask your local police department how many car thefts are of delivery drivers.

All that’s to say, hats off to the workers out there who, like Americans always have, ground through one hurdle after another to continue to produce in our marketplace.

These are the people who, in spite of disheartening economic trends, subscribe to Elon Musk’s simple COVID-era notion, “If you don’t make stuff, there is no stuff.”

It’s these people, these workers — these creators — who with their ethic and ethos will help Colorado persevere through a recession and beyond.

The Gazette Editorial Board

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