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America's Labor Day Message to Obama

09/06/2010 03:26 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Many people are worried this Labor Day about unemployment and the economy. With the midterm elections season kicking off, and the economy remaining Americans' number one issue, Obama's turning his attention in that direction with a $50-billion plan to jumpstart the economy. The president's stimulus bill notwithstanding, many believe that Obama could be doing more to create jobs. Here, a selection of the best editorials from around the country offering both insights and solutions that speak to Americans' economic concerns this holiday:

We must continue to move forward. The economy is making a slow recovery, but we are still facing a jobs deficit of more than 10 million. While Congress has taken steps in the right direction, we need to embrace multiple solutions to America's jobs crisis. We can preserve thousands of jobs by maintaining funding for services provided by state and local governments. We can create jobs by investing in our roads, bridges, schools and levees.

What the White House, Congress and the Federal Reserve can do, however, is reduce uncertainty by assuring employers that taxes won't rise, new regulations won't be created and interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future. No employer wants to risk hiring workers only to be forced to lay them off because of the churning economy.

The question for public officials now weighing next year's budget demands: Can taxpayers continue to pay firefighters, police and other government workers at the same rate they did in flush times when property values were stratospheric and governments were raking in the cash? Expecting cash-strapped taxpayers in a recession to pony up at the same levels is fantasy. That's why it's incumbent on union leaders to downsize their demands.

There was hope among respondents in retailing, transportation and high-tech manufacturing. Staffing firms reported strong demand for temporary hires, with the best hope for permanent hires coming among the ranks of those already on temporary payrolls. Still, amid the optimism was uncertainty about the longer term. The economy will get better. It always has. The best hope for that is people who persevere, who won't give up on finding ways to make their business prosper or who, when they are out of a job, continue to search for opportunity.

This recession, however, is less a downturn than a sea change in the economy that will require altered expectations for workers and families. Maybe today's celebrations and symbolic farewell to summer aren't the time to dwell on it. But they should remind us of one thing: We're all in it together.