LABOR DAY IS A chance to take a break from our routines and honor the contributions of those who have built America into the world’s No. 1 economic power.

As we relax and reflect, we need to realize that we are near full employment and must be open to the idea that we have room in America for an influx of new workers who want a shot at the American dream.

Labor Day was the idea of Matthew Maguire and Peter McGuire, labor union leaders. They proposed the idea in 1882. It’s the first Monday in September because it marks the end of the summer season, and it’s midway between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving.

Baby boomers, who built the modern economic engine, are aging themselves out of the workforce at the rate of 10,000 each and every day.

America’s birthrate has declined and we’ll need a steady supply of new workers to continue the growth cycle. Our Medicare and Social Security programs will face a bleak future if the workforce lags and the economy grinds to a halt because of a labor shortage.

Mike Rowe, TV host of “Dirty Jobs,” has traveled the world in search of stories about interesting jobs. He had many men and women tell him their chosen professions are “the best job I ever had.”

He got that response from all walks of life: roughnecks, fishermen, welders, roustabouts, plumbers, electricians, lumberjacks, truck drivers, soldiers and diesel engine mechanics, just to name a few.

The point Rowe was making was the vast majority of jobs do not require a four-year college degree. They do require some trade school training and a desire to be the best that you can be.

If you love what you do and are committed to excellence, you can earn a six-figure income. Many workers become business owners. There is honor in all work.

Rowe said it is impossible to know who or what will influence our capacity to learn or challenge our intellect in a meaningful way.

You might find in your path to adulthood that your most influential teacher taught music at your high school, was your soccer coach or the English teacher at a community college. You will find inspiration in many unlikely places. The key is to recognize it and take advantage of it.

This Labor Day, honor the American workforce, which numbers nearly 180 million. Acknowledge that economic growth will be driven by people across sectors and geographies.

Show gratitude to the workers who built the economy and made America the greatest country in the world. As important, we must invest in the workers who will do the same for generations to come.

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HELEN RALEIGH SAID she wants to scream when she hears liberal-socialist political candidates say “We need to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes,” when they already pay more than 70% of the federal income taxes and 48% of households pay no federal income taxes.

Raleigh is a business owner and inspirational author. She wrote “Confucius Never Said.” She believes politicians promising to level the playing field are promoting socialist policies that helped ruin China’s economy 70 years ago.

“The slogans sound good and no one disputes that the rich should pay their fair share, but the radical progressives are promoting a class warfare agenda that will end in failure and kill the golden goose that makes the American dream possible for tens of millions of people,” wrote Raleigh.

Raleigh’s great-grandfather was a wheat farmer near a small village on the east coast of China. When the Communist Party took over in 1949, it wanted to get the support of some 300 million landless peasants. They said landowners were class enemies who exploited the poor and that the unequal land ownership was the main cause of social injustice.

The government workers stirred up the laborers by sowing the seeds of envy and greed. They inflamed hatred toward any villager who owned property, as her great-grandfather did.

In short order, the local government confiscated their property and tools, and redistributed them to landless and impoverished farmers. Many landlords were executed or sent to labor camps. This socialist experiment didn’t last long.

With the government in control, the farm land was taken back from the poor, disillusioned farmers. It was a disaster as the workers could no longer make their own decisions. The crops perished and millions of people starved, said Raleigh.

A modest Chinese farmer’s livelihood was wrecked in the name of ideals that have failed every time and everywhere they have been tried. “Let this be a warning to all, socialism is nothing new and the great promises being told to the naïve will not be fulfilled,” warned Raleigh.

After her great-grandfather’s death in 1988, Raleigh immigrated to the United States. She saw firsthand what socialism can do and she shudders to believe there are liberal candidates telling unsuspecting Americans that this time socialism will work.