Monday, July 13, 2015

Jeb Says to Work Harder

It should come as no surprise that Jeb Bush, after saying he would not run, and was not interested in being President, has decided that he is going to run, because he is interested after all. Sure Jeb, you really had me fooled.

This post is only about his most recent foot-in-mouth moment, though he has had a number of missteps from the very beginning: Not good for the brother who was supposed to be the smart one. You can get the gist of it from the picture below.

Here is the interview with New Hampshire's The Union Leader, complete with a video, in which he said the following:
“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.”
Most critics jumped on the "need to work longer hours" aspect, and with good reason. We, Americans, already work the longest hours in the industrialized world.

Bush claimed what he meant was that too many workers juggle part-time jobs, when they would prefer a single full-time job. That much is true; part-time work takes an even greater toll because of the additional logistic challenges, a point I have touched on before.

Jeb did not clarify how he would rectify that, nor, for that matter, was there a hint of recognition as to why Americans are forced to work such long hours at so many jobs just to get by. Republicans won't mention that the US has among the lowest minimum wage, the fewest paid vacations, relatively few national holidays, inadequate pensions, low job protection, and no paid maternity leave. But Jeb Bush thinks we just need to work harder.
But note also that Jeb said we need to raise productivity, and then maybe people will earn more. It is this observation that reveals how misinformed he is. Does he not realize the US is already among the most productive countries in the world, if not the most? A search taking all of 20 seconds showed the US as the most productive G7 member (2013 data). By all means, see the charts. The productivity has been there for decades, but the gains have been entirely garnered by those at the top. This is a fundamental reality of modern America.

JB just cannot bring himself to accept that growing inequality and rising hardships in this country are the result of policies and legislation promoted by his Party. They are the ones that have wanted cheap labor, the ability to outsource jobs, low minimum wages, weak unions, low employee benefits, low marginal tax rates, numerous tax advantages for the wealthy, massive defense spending, and generous subsidies to profitable companies.

America's overclass has created a blatantly rigged system, but Jeb thinks the solution is for the rest of us to work harder. And he is the smart one?