There are a great many things which could be done to better our country. More peace, love and rock ‘n roll come to mind. Giving government workers another day off with pay is probably not one of them.
There’s been much fanfare this week as the U.S. Senate and U.S. House both passed a bill declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday. President Joe Biden made it official on Thursday when he signed the new bill into law.
So why am I not breaking into song? The last thing we need is another reason to pay people for not working.
America is just now beginning to wrestle people back into the workforce after a year of government handouts. The past year may be remembered for how the pandemic disrupted schools and many normal activities, but it’s also been a year of government money showered on the masses.
To further this agenda where everyone feels entitled to "free" money, Congress has decided to toss in another paid vacation. Enjoy!
To be clear, I’m not against Juneteenth or the significance of the day. My complaint is America continues to gravitate toward paying people not to work. Adding another federal holiday will cost taxpayers roughly $600 million in wages to pay federal employees to stay home. It’s a remarkably awful idea.
Granted, $600 million doesn’t buy what it used to, but it still seems like an enormous sum. I don’t think there are many folks who will claim our government runs efficiently. It’s usually described as a bureaucratic mess. So let’s toss in another vacation to add yet another speedbump.
Before anyone gets too upset, let me stress that I believe Juneteenth should be recognized. It marks the date the last enslaved African Americans were granted their freedom. Officially, it was June 19, 1965.
From a human rights standpoint, Juneteenth is probably the most meaningful federal holiday that could ever be placed on the U.S. calendar. It’s certainly more impactful than Columbus Day, Presidents Day or Labor Day.
Juneteenth should be remembered as a great triumph for America, a day when we final awoke to the fact that we should treat all races fairly. You think?
To me, Juneteenth is much more important than a federal holiday simply because it’s the first day of the year. Juneteenth is much more important than Thanksgiving, which has become two paid holidays because so many government offices close on Black Friday too.
Since Congress has made Juneteenth a federal holiday, it should consider removing that distinction from Columbus Day for a $600 million swap. Or do away with Presidents Day, a day which seems to exemplify the inherent waste in our government by proclaiming a federal holiday for no real reason.
If there’s one thing we can count on, year after year, it's the federal government will find a way to give away money, sometimes $600 million at a time.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.