Friday, July 10, 2015

Jeb Bush Says American Workers Must Work Longer Hours And Years

If you’re in the American middle class—or what’s left of it—here’s how you probably feel. You feel like you’re struggling harder than your parents did, working longer hours than ever before, and yet falling further and further behind. The reason you feel this way is because most of you truly are falling further behind. But during an interview with The New Hampshire Union-Leader editorial board, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush said, "people need to work longer hours."
“My aspirations for the country, and I believe we can achieve it, is for 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 are going to get out of this rut that we’re in,”Bush said.
Wealthy GOP politicians want all of US to work harder, when they have hardly every spent an hour of work at hard labor. Jeb Bush wouldn't last an hour pouring asphalt in the hot sun, but some people do that all day.

For the over 109 million Americans in full-time jobs, work weeks often are longer than the 40-hour standard. According to a Gallup poll conducted last year, full-time salaried employees reported working an average of 47 hours a week, without overtime compensation. Many salaried employees are forced by their bosses to work 60 to 70 hours a week for a 40 hour based salary.

Employers force their salaried employees to work those long overtime hours for free so they don't have to hire additional employees to do the work. American workers already work more hours per week than people in other countries, with fewer vacation days, sick leave, parental leave to take care of newborn babies, and so forth. Add to that the fact that automation has increased productivity, which should result in an increase in pay for fewer hours worked. But, wages are still stuck in the mud.

Half of Americans are earning less now than they did 30 years ago, adjusted for inflation. In 1975, more than 60% of full-time U.S. salaried workers were eligible for overtime; now less than 8% are eligible, according to the White House Domestic Policy Council. Almost all the economic gains have been going to the top. But Bush and every GOP candidate and incumbent GOP law-maker is against increasing the minimum wage, against limiting forced unpaid over time work, and against doing anything else that would raise Americans’ pay and create more jobs.

Under current federal regulations, only salaried employees who make no more than $455 a week, or $23,660 a year, are guaranteed to receive overtime after working more than 40 hours a week. Progressive Democrats have long sought greater protection for a large swath of middle-class salaried employees who are called "managers," yet often do the same routine work as hourly-wage employees. They're spending most of their time doing anything but management."

Under new federal regulations proposed by the Obama administration an estimated 4.7 million more salaried workers would be eligible for overtime pay — an attempt to boost conditions for white-collar employees who have seen their earnings decline as they work longer hours. The new rules would raise that salaried overtime pay threshold from $23,660 a year to $50,440 a year, giving salaried workers much higher up the income scale the ability to work less or earn more for long hours, or a bit of both.

Jeb Bush and the other GOP candidates for president and congress oppose any new federal regulations or legislation that requires employers to stop stealing overtime hours from their employees.

But, new federal "overtime" regulations proposed by the Obama administration would actually give incentive to businesses to hire more employees - so those without jobs can "work more hours" to build a stronger America.

Contract workers, free-lancers, and temp workers are working longer hours than ever. Most part-time workers who want a one full time job are forced to work two and even three part-time jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently at least 6.5 million individuals working in part-time jobs who would prefer full-time employment.

Jeb Bush and all the GOP presidential candidates also think senior citizens should work longer hours by delaying their retirement. As all the GOP presidential candidates advocate, Jeb wants to push back the Social Security retirement age from 65 to 68 or 70. Bush also says he wants to cut back SS benefits for wealthy people and their beneficiaries, a reform proposal known as means testing.

Rather than cut Social Security benefits for wealthy people, progressive Democrats want to eliminate the social Security contribution cap of $118,500 so wealthy people who earn more than the cap limit are required to contribute the same percentage of their full salary as everyone who earns less than the cap limit. Even the wealthiest 1% of Americans should contribute into Social Security their fair share of the money they earn from the American economy and all the American wage and salaried employees who make the American economy the strongest in the world.

By eliminating the cap, Social Security will be fully funded for at least the next 70 to 100 years, and make possible benefit expansions for retirees. The GOP's plan to keep seniors in their jobs an additional 5 years to age 70 only reduces the number of jobs available for young college and trade school graduates. The economy would grow faster by incentivizing seniors to retire earlier, to open up job positions for young job seekers.

(Note: Jeb Bush says his remarks on Americans needing to work longer hours were misconstrued, telling reporters in New Hampshire he intended to advocate greater job opportunities for people involuntarily working part-time.)

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