A few days ago Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush gave an interview in which he stated, among other things, that Americans need to work harder and longer.
Those are not his precise words nor are those words standing alone.
Here is the exact quote:
My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours” and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in.
And since that statement drew a firestorm from the left, Bush clarified his remarks
If we’re going to grow the economy, people need to stop being part-time workers, they need to be having access to greater opportunities to work.
Either way Bush ignores the realities of the American work force and adopts the typical CEO approach to workers that is more at the heart of our economic troubles than any of the nonsense he spouts.
I will address him directly.
Well, Jeb, let me admit you into the world of reality. I know it’s scary but you’re a big boy, you should be able to handle it.
You see, Jeb, truth be told, Americans work harder at their jobs, and are far more productive, than probably any other collection of workers across the industrialized, corporatized world. And yet…and yet…the corporations that employ them do not already reward them for this productivity. Oh, a company will benefit from this productivity, turning out more widgets at a lower cost sold for a higher price generating record profits for the company, but guess where that profit goes almost exclusively.
I’ll give you a moment to ponder.
OK, time’s up. here’s the answer. Jeb, I’m sure you know many corporate heads and higher ups, have hob nobbed with them or consorted with them in your various jobs—those same jobs which have made you personally a very rich man by the way—no need to worry about your family’s health, or the costs of dealing with that at least—and which have provided you an enormous, steady, not paid by the hour income.
That profit, Jeb, goes almost exclusively to the people who are already rich and who did not have to work an hourly job to achieve those riches. How is that so? Well it is so because those rich people have the money to influence lawmakers to allow them to become even richer. The system, as well you should know, seeing as how your dear brother George was such an advocate of its very processes, keeps seeking to put more money into your pockets through a web of lax or no regulation, perpetual begging for lower taxes, maintaining the ability to earn huge sums that, if taxed at all, are taxed below the rate typically paid by one of these hourly workers you implore to work longer and harder, and…to top it all off…actively seeking to deny the financial rewards that should inure to the people who have produced those riches for you.
Work longer hours? Work full time instead of part time? Tell that to Walmart and its ilk that deliberately keep many employees below the level of full time so they do not have to pay benefits. Or pay overtime when their job responsibilities might occasionally stretch their hours beyond forty per week, all in service to the employer.
Or how about this, Jeb? Working full time…a forty hour week…at $10 per hour, which is a higher pay rate than the majority of them earn…still leaves them below the poverty line, severely so if they have children which the majority do.
Add to that the wage theft committed by corporations, again like Walmart…though it is not alone…who sneakily find ways to not even pay their employers for the time they have worked. Multiple successful class action lawsuits to recover these stolen wages do not lie, Jeb.
I’m breaking up with you, Jeb, not that we ever went steady in the first place. But, unlike in real life romances where the person declaring the split says, ” it’s not you, it’s me”, speaking definitively on behalf of all American workers acting as one, in this case Jeb, it is not me, it is YOU.