The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City. Over the next few years other states followed suit. In June 1894 President Grover Cleveland signed a bill making Labor Day a national holiday, which would be celebrated the first Monday in September.
Labor Day became a legal holiday because union leaders wanted a day to celebrate the economic and social achievement of workers.
According to the Department of Labor website: “American labor has raised the nation’s standard of living and contributed to the greatest production the world has ever known and the labor movement has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.”
Really? Workers without tools, factories, transportation, and entrepreneurs would be living at the subsistence level at best. The standard of living for billions of human beings around the world has increased markedly over the past two hundred years because savings have been invested in capital, which has been used to produce the goods and services that the public desires. Entrepreneurs in effect have been the economy’s “chefs” organizing the means of production to give us mom and pop stores on Main Street, supermarkets, department stores, big box stores and ecommerce. And we all depend on the scores of services—utilities, medical, legal, accounting, banking, entertainment, travel, etc.– for a satisfying, healthy, productive life.
Look around your home. Air conditioning, electricity, a refrigerator, a range a microwave, cable or streaming TV, radio, a cell phone, a computer, small appliances, furniture, food in the pantry and refrigerator, clothing, hygienic products, and your motor vehicle have been produced because entrepreneurs used capital to create new products and services. Of course, workers are part of the “recipe” entrepreneurs follow to create abundance.
I thus propose we celebrate the men and women entrepreneurs who have been the creators in America. The 10 most important entrepreneurs on this list are all men. The number of women entrepreneurs has increased substantially in recent decades and have built successful businesses. It is time we honor the men and women creators and innovators who have made the US economy hum for decades.
When should we celebrate Entrepreneur Day? I could have chosen the birthday of one of the male or female entrepreneurs but that would be unfair to all the other men and women who have had great accomplishments. I decided that since August does not have a holiday and the 15th has special meaning for the country, Entrepreneur Day should be observed beginning in 2023.
On August 15th 1971, President Nixon imposed wage-price controls, devalued the dollar, and ended the convertibility of the dollar into gold. Thus, Nixon imposed anti-entrepreneurial regulations on the American economy.
Celebrating Entrepreneur Day on August 15 would have a double barrel effect—to honor the individuals who “made America” and to remind the American people how our standard of living has increased because of entrepreneurs who have continued to produce for all of us despite being hamstrung by counterproductive government policies.