Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Holiday Gratitude

First off, let me offer a note of thanks to Mrs. King for waiting until January 15th to bring little Martin Luther into the world.  Although we no doubt would have been as eager to celebrate his birthday in the middle of summer, the middle of January is a particularly fine time for a holiday.  She could have been selfish, rushing him to an early introduction in December when he would have made a nice little tax deduction.

As it was Mrs. King waited until January.  So now we have a well-timed holiday in January.  Not the 15th, but a nearby Monday.  In 1968, Congress got smart about holidays and passed legislation to shift most celebrations to Monday. This was back in the day when Congressmen spent more time on legislating than on preening for television cameras and spouting extremist ultimatums. 

When President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation into law he made a lot of flowery statements about families.  He said, “This will mean a great deal to our families and our children. It will enable families who live some distance apart to spend more time together. Americans will be able to travel farther and see more of this beautiful land of ours. They will be able to participate in a wider range of recreational and cultural activities.”

More likely, the idea was driven by economic considerations.  All that ‘traveling farther’ means spending more.  The shift of legal holidays meant people would spend more on gas, food and entertainment if they had three days of liberty in a row.

Business and industry also had a stake in the holiday matter. Placing holidays on Monday was expected to discourage the kind of productivity-sapping malaise inspired by mid-week holidays.  Citizens were expected to be content with the long weekend and be prepared to put shoulder to grindstone on Tuesday morning.

Martin Luther King had a dream.  It was for far more than a simple holiday weekend.  He was after something much more meaningful  -  racial freedom.  For myself, I am grateful to have had a three-day break even if my shoulder is not yet to the grindstone today.

Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.


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