"While warming up a Labor Day crowd in
Detroit before a speech by President Obama, Hoffa said
unions should fight a 'war' with tea partiers and
congressional Republicans. 'President Obama, this is your
army,' Hoffa declared. 'We are ready to march. Let's take
these sons of bitches out.'"
Caller account of Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa's
remarks at Labor Day rally in Detroit at which President
Obama also appeared.
In the beginning, there was no such thing as
Then Adam and Eve disobeyed God, ate the
apple and were sentenced to "in the sweat of your brow you shall
eat bread until you return to the ground."
As it was explained to us first-graders at
Sacred Heart Elementary School: God punished Adam by making him
work for a living, instead of just "cultivating" the Garden of
Eden, eating fruit from its trees and naming animals.
We learned later that Eve was punished with
an increase in childbirth pain, and was told that "your husband
will dominate you." But we can talk about natural vs.
drug-assisted childbirth another time, and we are never going to
discuss female submission.
The reason I bring up the Bible is that I've
always thought it unfortunate that some children's introduction
to work is found in a story describing it as punishment. Many
grown-ups still divide their lives into "work" and "pleasure,"
spending roughly 40 hours a week watching the clock, and 50
years dreaming of retirement and a return to gardening,
fruit-salad luncheons (hold the apple) and naming pets.
The truth is, the Garden of Eden sounds
lovely as a vacation destination, but who would want to live
there forever? I think it's important to appreciate the sweet
things in life; but don't we appreciate them more if we, well,
I have a theory that while God was resting on
the seventh day, he got curious: What would happen if Adam and
Eve actually had a choice between a blissfully ignorant eternity
in paradise, or, knowledge of good and evil, with a mission to
become one and fight the other? Why else would He have come up
with the forbidden-fruit challenge?
The couple found out about good and evil soon
enough. They had kids, one of whom murdered his brother. Would
they eventually invent farm machinery? The assembly line?
Unions, lawyers, politicians? Would women choose equality, or
Shariah law? Turning off the "all-knowing" option, God settles
back in his hammock to watch the show.
Both sides of the evolution-creationism
debate will probably be relieved if I switch to evolution now.
In the beginning, there was only survival
mode: Just a reacting to the environment, an opportunistic
scrambling for light, food, whatever kept an organism alive. I
wouldn't call what plants do "work;" but "worker" bees
pollinating flowers while "collecting" nectar to "make" honey,
does make one think of an assembly line.
Our own ancestors "worked" at hunting and
gathering, until they reached the point in human evolution when
they could scratch a living from the earth, which they seem to
have considered an improvement over just picking berries and
So, creationist or evolutionist, we arrive at
the same point: Human beings working to provide for their
existence and that of their families. Along with farming, they
made pottery, wove baskets, collected honey from the bees,
started trading, and began wars to take what other people had
Perhaps with an original mandate to protect
earners from thieves, government was instituted; this also
created government jobs. Here is where the line between
protection and theft sometimes becomes blurred. Still, the
powerful institutions had to make sure that workers, including
serfs and slaves, kept enough of their products for their own
survival, or the system fell apart. This is why we have "tax
The point is, survival has always been a
giant struggle. Once one ran out of fruit to pluck from a tree
or bush, you had to hustle to get enough food to eat. Whether
following the herds during natural climate changes, or finding
trade routes to other continents, humans had to be flexible,
creative and relatively strong in order to survive. Lots of them
didn't. There were never any guarantees.
Fast-forward a few years, and there's
Teamster leader Hoffa at a union rally bellowing, "President
Obama, we want one thing: Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs."
It's tempting, while noting the thuggish
Hoffa's resemblance to Cro-Magnon Man, to yell back, "Jobs don't
grow on trees, buddy!"
One you get past the hunter-gatherer phase,
and the basic farming, jobs have to be created by "job-creators"
using "capital," along with intelligence, creativity and a
willingness to take risks and work hard. Once the jobs are
created, they go to the "workers" who compete for them in "the
marketplace," with the goal of earning enough to survive. Then
the government takes a share to provide government protection
But notice that without the "job-creators"
there are no jobs for most private-sector workers, and no taxes
for the government to use in creating government jobs.
The moral of the story is: Telling President
Obama you want "jobs, jobs, jobs," won't create jobs. Might as
well just tell God to get over the apple thing, and hand you a