Most Americans think of Labor Day as part of a long weekend and the unofficial end of summer. It was originally meant, though, to recognize the contributions of labor unions. I recommend a third alternative: use Labor Day to honor laborers.

To honor laborers, you would have to respect their right to make choices for themselves. But because so many people, especially people in government, don’t respect that right, laborers face two main obstacles: (1) government regulation that gives labor unions monopoly power over their labor, and (2) other government regulations that restrict the kinds of deals that laborers can make with those who buy their services. Honoring labor would mean getting rid of those two obstacles.

This is the intro to my Labor Day Econlib Feature Article, “Honor Laborers.”

I thank Don Boudreaux for two helpful comments on an earlier draft.