The Fourth of July is a favorite at my house. It's a clear signal that we are in full summer vacation mode, and it's a great day filled with family, backyard barbecuing, and fireworks at our local high school football field. (Sorry to say it's not my dog's favorite day. She's sure the fireworks are being aimed directly at her.)
I've always known the Fourth of July is a day to celebrate America's birthday, its independence from British rule and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But as a teenager, I've also come to realize that as Americans, we are celebrating a lot of other freedoms also.
We are the luckiest people in the world. I know that may sound like one of those huge exaggerations but it's not. We are free to be anybody and anything we want, and thanks to the incredible foresight of our Forefathers, we have the laws to protect our rights to do just that. The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution actually encourage us to be independent and pursue our own version of happiness, whatever that may be.
But there are a lot of Americans who are having a hard time doing just that. They're having a difficult time achieving their personal happiness because they're having an even harder time finding a job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobless rate in the United States is 7.6 percent, with about 11.8 million people unemployed.
And, there are also a large number of people who are having a hard time feeling independent, because they are relying on the government to take care of them. Recent figures show that U.S. citizens receiving some sort of government assistance is at an all time high -- about 1 in 3 Americans.
The Great Recession of 2009 and the slow economic recovery is a big part of the problem. However, America has got to get back to work. Job creation is critical to the growth and success of our country. Before the government makes any move -- a new regulation, a new law, a new piece of legislation -- lawmakers need to weigh the effects it will have on jobs and people who want to work. Will it be a negative or positive for job creation?
Only then can people truly hope to achieve what our Forefathers envisioned as the American Dream.
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