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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokesman-Review editorial page opined in favor of a progressive cause in 1910: an eight-hour workday and a six-day workweek.

Proper rest, said the editors, is necessary if a worker was expected “to retain freshness of brain, vigor of brawn and power of endurance through the long years of a working life.”

“The mind and body that never relax become sodden and flabby,” said the writer. “… Many states and cities in this country have legalized the eight-hour day as the ideal working day. When it becomes the work-day of every industry, a long step forward in the betterment of American life will have been taken.”

From the austerity file: Yet on the same editorial page, The Spokesman-Review also warned against another danger – America’s lapse into extravagance.

“Roast beef and the finest of wheaten bread have filled the table of the average American and he has laughed at the meager fare of the typical European,” said the writer.

“But the high cost of living has brought him to the fork in the road of national progress, where he and his children must choose between economy and extravagance.”

The solution: America must “get down to the bedrock of spending less than it earns.”