- - Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sadly, there isn’t much to celebrate this Labor Day. With official unemployment hovering near 10 percent and real unemployment at around 15 percent, many fellow Americans are laboring just to find a job. With the job market so bleak, some Americans actually have quit looking. That doesn’t even register with me.

Many Americans are underemployed, while others are worried about keeping their jobs. Many of the good jobs Americans once had are gone for good.

The economy is in a shambles, possibly bordering on a depression. Some economists are saying we have not even seen the worst of it yet. Some even claim America is just a few years away from a financial meltdown similar to what happened to Greece.

Home sales are down. Same with commercial real estate. The stock market is sliding south. The national debt is more than $12 trillion and growing. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are nearing financial insolvency. Almost everything we buy is made in some other country.

States and cities all across America are also on the verge of going bankrupt for a number of reasons. Unionized public employees with their sweetheart deals at taxpayer expense are one significant reason why some cities and states are in such dire financial condition.

Unionized public employees have better deals than the taxpayers who are funding them. Federal employees make twice as much as their private-sector peers. This is all beyond bizarro.

The question we all need to ask is, what went so terribly wrong?

The answer to that question is complicated, but the simple answer is that we the people dropped the ball and became far too lax in our duty to monitor just what in the hell has been going on in Washington and in city halls for at least the past 40 years. The Great Society didn’t turn out so great, after all.

Visit my hometown of Detroit if you doubt me.

We became complacent, comfortable and dependent. This is the perfect breeding ground for central planners, social engineers, do-gooders, expensive lobbyists, spendthrift officials and unaccountable bureaucrats. And breed they did. We have the most expensive government money can buy. If our forefathers could come back to life, the first thing they would do would be to load their muskets.

And so here we are - unemployed, underemployed and nervous. And we are here because we failed and put America in its most perilous condition in the history of the nation.

We were sufficiently warned this would happen, but too few of us paid attention to the wise words of our forefathers, economists and other thinkers. Instead, we tuned into the NFL, NASCAR and other mindless escape vehicles. Admit it. You know it’s true.

Our failure to monitor and demand accountability by our elected officials is going to saddle our children with being the first generation of Americans not to have it as good as or better than their parents’ generation. When our children’s generation wakes up and realizes how badly we have screwed them financially, don’t be surprised if they revolt. They have the right.

Yes, it is about jobs. We need to get America working again so men and women can feed their families and put a roof over their heads. But we are not going to get there by continuing to the feed the very Fedzilla beast that is strangling us. We couldn’t possibly be on a more wrong course.

But more important, it’s about the basics. Unless we get the basics right, we will continue to make the same mistakes that put us in the ugly predicament in which we find ourselves.

Glenn Beck is correct. America must restore honor.

The basics have always been the basics: less government spending, lower taxes and championing the free market. These are the basic keys to prosperity and employment. If you disagree with that, set sail for Cuba and take Michael Moore and a boatload of other stinky socialists with you.

America is on an unsustainable and treacherous path. We need to reverse course immediately. Think about this on Labor Day and then commit to doing something about it. America’s future depends on you. What are you going to do about it?

Ted Nugent is an unstoppable American rock ‘n’ roll, sporting and political activist icon. He is author of “Ted, White & Blue: The Nugent Manifesto” and “God, Guns and Rock ‘N’ Roll” (Regnery Publishing).