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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

This may be Jeb Bush’s “47 percent” moment.

The Republican presidential candidate this week told the New Hampshire Union Leader, “[W]e 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.”

Democrats were quick to criticize Bush for seeming to say that Americans are not working long or hard enough and that is contributing to the nation’s slow economic recovery. The Democratic National Committee released a statement calling Bush’s comments “out of touch” with the reality of the U.S. workforce and the struggles of middle-class Americans.

In his defense, Bush said his words were taken out of context, and later clarified, telling reporters: “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.” So, more full-time jobs for more Americans. Sounds great.

But Bush stopped well short of addressing the key economic issue on many Americans’ minds: stagnant wages.

As labor unions, grassroots organizers, and workers continue to campaign for a higher minimum wage of $15 per hour, Bush remained silent about how real wages in the United States have not risen for decades.

It’s true that more U.S. workers need greater access to full-time opportunities. Too many of the jobs created in recent years have been low paying or part time, with little regularity in scheduled work hours or job security and benefits.

Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Huffington Post reports:

[T]here are currently 6.5 million individuals working in part-time jobs who would prefer full-time employment, while 19 million Americans work in part-time jobs for non-economic reasons.

Still, the majority of employed Americans work full time, defined as working 35 hours or more per week. And according to a 2014 Gallup poll, “full-time employees reported working an average of 47 hours a week.”

The difficulty that many full- and part-time workers share is low wages, especially workers in low-income industries like the service sector. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has not been raised since 2009. Given that productivity increased by 74 percent from 1973 to 2013, but hourly wages only jumped 9 percent over the same period, according to the Economic Policy Institute, American workers are clearly getting shortchanged.

Jeb Bush has criticized President Obama’s economic policy, arguing that the administration has made it hard on businesses to create jobs. (Conservatives blame the Affordable Care Act for raising employee costs for businesses.)

If he wanted to make a fair criticism, he could challenge the recent “positive” jobs numbers, which came with two major caveats: In June, unemployment declined — but that was due to lower workforce participation and workers’ average wages flattening. Bush spoke about the shrinking labor force, but failed to mention wages. He has, however, expressed his disdain for raising the federal minimum.

Ultimately, this week, the former Florida governor showed his true colors: He prefers to scapegoat poor and working-class people rather than acknowledge that middle-class wages have been leveling off for years while CEO profits skyrocket.

Even when Bush aimed to contextualize what he said about Americans needing to work more hours, he sounded like Mitt Romney in 2012, talking about the 47 percent of Americans “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims…. who pay no income tax.”

“You can take it out of context all you want,” Bush told reporters, “but high sustained growth means people work 40 hours rather than 30 hours and that by our success they have disposable income for their families to decide how they want to spend it rather than standing in line and being dependent upon government.”

What Bush said, and didn’t say, is actually 99 percent clear. He thinks workers should earn more to boost the economy — by working more hours, not by getting a raise, and certainly not by “being dependent upon government.” Thank you for the context, Mr. 1 Percent.

Photo: Jeb Bush, May 16, 2015, iprimages via Flickr

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35 responses to “With U.S. Wages Flat, Jeb Bush Calls For More Full-Time Jobs”

  1. Dude has never worked a hard day ion his life. Screw him.

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    The problem, when it comes to issues like this, is that most politicians are so out of touch with reality that they seem to inhabit another planet. Millions of Americans are working two jobs to make ends meet, and those who only have one FULL TIME job often work an average of 50 hours to keep up with the workload. The problem is not that American workers are not productive, but that salaries have been stagnant since at least 2007 when the Great Recession began, and because many employers are reluctant or unwilling to hire enough workers to increase profits and satisfy shareholder expectations.
    What is going on has absolutely nothing to do with the work ethics of American workers. The root cause of our labor problems, which affects economic growth, involves the greed of many U.S. corporations, particularly in sectors such as hospitality, retailing, agriculture, and the service industry. Republicans love to talk about the lazy Americans who depend on government handouts, perhaps they should take a closer look at those who are working their butts out to provide for their families before they open their stupid mouths.
    Between Bush’s 47% moment, Trump’s Mexican generalization and his promise to bomb Iraq to the stone age and then send American oil companies to rebuild the oil wells we destroy, and Hillary being “disappointed” by the Donald’s remarks, it is clear that the majority of those running for the nomination of their respective parties need lots of ropes around them, not to keep the press away from them, but to keep them away from the press.

    • itsfun says:

      I don’t think it is greed. A business has to make a profit to stay in business. One problem I see is the idiots that wrote the obamacare tax. They are the ones that made the 30 hour work week full time. Not the business. They are the ones that said companies did not have to pay for healthcare for people working under 30 hours. To me, that is telling business to make employees part time. Stock holders are going to say make the workers part time, so we can keep our dividends. The congress needs to fix this, they are the ones that created this problem. Its easy to blame business for this, but congress and the president are the ones that caused this problem.

      • Joyce says:

        its(not)fun: Bet you have health insurance. Probably as good as those in Congress. Why shouldn’t everyone have access to good health care? You know that you support those who don’t have insurance, don’t you? Why are you and your kind (ilk) against taking care of all Americans, not just the ones with lots of money? I see the idiots such as you who have no idea about compassion or empathy; you’re just interested in your own selfish interests and how everything effects YOU.

        • itsfun says:

          Where did I say people shouldn’t have good health insurance?

          I have Medicare and a supplemental plan. I paid for Medicare on every pay check I ever got and still pay for it every month. Why do you have to resort to name calling when you have no idea what kind of person I am or who I may be caring for in their old age, or a poor family I adopted (single mother and 3 year old) and help provide food and housing for? I am not in favor of destroying a small business.

          • Joyce says:

            who called you a name, thin skin? why do you have to resort to hate to get your point across? everyone who worked maid into Medicare. What’s your point? Everyone needs health care, no matter what their situation is. Why don’t you worry about the 1% who hardly pay a dime in taxes and take them to task for not sharing the weight of living within our society?

          • itsfun says:

            You called me a name. Maybe you think calling someone an idiot is a complement. Where do you come up the term hate? Where did I say people shouldn’t have health care? If someone has a terrible pre-existing disease, I think the Government should be providing the best care possible for them without deductibles or max limits. Any healthy people should receive health insurance, but should have to perform a service of some kind to EARN it. How many of the 1% hire people, provide health insurance and retirement accounts for them? How many poor people hire employees? Why do you want to punish the 1% for working hard and being successful? Did you know that 81% of anchor baby families get government assistance including health care? Must be it pays to be illegal. Why don’t you take the illegals to task and make them follow the laws of our nation?

      • johninPCFL says:

        The ACA imposes insurance costs only on those businesses with more than 50 employees. Typically, a business expects to earn $100,000 per employee, so at $5MM per year revenues, these are “small businesses” only for government accounting purposes. A “well run” business typically returns better than 10% after-tax, so these “poor small businesses” are pocketing about $500M in profits.

        Yes, 30 hours was the cutoff for a full-time employee. So now let’s follow the logic of your contention that “that is telling business to make employees part time.”

        Businesses hire people to produce the goods and services necessary to make the profit you worship. They either are run poorly (have more employees than necessary) or are run well. Those that are run poorly can terminate employees, or demote them to fewer than 30 work hours per week. They probably won’t notice that the employees leave, or that their customers go elsewhere (after all, they are poorly run) and they will fail. They will join the 1000’s that do every year, and health insurance costs aren’t the largest factor in their failure.

        Those businesses that are well-run, either make their business unprofitable (poor service loses customers) or pay for their employees’ health insurance. Paying the insurance cost drops their net-net from 10% to 7%, hardly the end of the world.

      • Dominick Vila says:

        There is nothing in the Affordable Care Act that encourages companies to stop providing health insurance to their employees. Health insurance continues to be provided by most corporations as part of their benefits package the same way they always did. The reason for the inclusion of this important benefit has very little to do with concern over the health of employees, or Christian values. Good benefits are provided to attract qualified workers, reduce attrition and, sometimes, to justify flat wages.
        The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is designed to provide access to affordable medical care to American citizens who did not have access to preventive medicine and relied on ER care when it was often too late because they could not afford the premiums charged by insurance companies.
        In any case, the topic is flat wages, not the ACA, which has absolutely nothing to do with it. Wages have been flat because the 07-10 Great Recession reduced revenues for many companies, and introduced a level of uncertainty that forced many employers to limit operating costs and delay hiring. Nobody is arguing the fact that companies must make a profit to stay in business, grow, and be prosperous. The concern for many of us is that with the economy growing rapidly, and job creation on solid ground, there is no justification to support flat wages. The only believable excuse is that inflation has been consistently low during the past several years. Other than that, it is all profit taking. GREED!
        As for Americans being lazy, I think Jeb should leave his elitist cocoon and mingle with average Americans. Most Americans are working between 50 and 60 hours a week, in part to compensate for low wages by working overtime, and also to keep up with the workload caused by inadequate staffing.
        Jeb’s Romney moment is likely to come back to hunt him…

        • itsfun says:

          First health care Is a good thing. Put yourself in the place of a . small business owner. You have 100 employees. The government then tells you to provide health care to every one working over 30 hours a week. At a cost of around 3000 per for a year of health care is going to cost you 300,000. Does your small business make enough for you to afford to stay open? That is a program designed to make you the owner cut hours and just hire more part time employees. If you check you will see that ER care has grown since the obamacare tax went into effect. Huge employers like GM, Ford, GE, etc. provide benefits to keep employees. They just raise the cost of a product people need. A small business may be producing a product you can do without, so they just go broke.

          • Dominick Vila says:

            Businesses large and small pass the cost of doing business on to consumers. That’s the way it has always been, and that’s the way it will continue to be. Are you suggesting that small companies should not provide health insurance to their employee? Does that mean that you believe those employees should participate in the ACA, or that the best solution would have been universal healthcare?

          • johninPCFL says:

            100 employees yields about $10million in revenues, or about $1million in net profits after taxes. Paying for the employees’ insurance lowers the take from 10% to 7%.

        • itsfun says:

          Wages are going to stay flat as long as we keep importing products made from .50 cents a hour labor in foreign countries. The auto industry makes cars in other countries to save labor costs. Who is going to buy a widget made in the US for the cost of 1.00 when they can buy the same widget made in a foreign country for .25?

          • Dominick Vila says:

            The same people willing to buy an expensive German car, an Airbus, or French champagne. Our options should not include emulating Bangladesh, but keeping pace with other industrialized nations that manage to export their products in spite of high wages, and benefits that often exceed those offered by American companies.
            The problem for us is not that a lot of people opt to buy junk Made in China at WalMart, but that we are not investing enough in education, infrastructure, modernization, and the need to deliver quality products and services.
            High salaries and generous benefit packages add to the cost of doing business, a fact that almost always results in American products being more expensive, but that is only a facet of this issue. The other side of the coin is that well paid employees tend to be more reliable, more productive, more innovative, more loyal to the company they work for, and their earnings always results in higher spending, a key to economic prosperity in a consumer oriented economy such as ours.

      • John Murchison says:

        nonsense. wages have been flat for many years…way before this President and his healthcare changes. face it, its plain greed.

        • itsfun says:

          Put yourself in the shoes of a business owner and what would you do? The way this tax law is designed is the problem, not the people trying to make a go of it in business.

  3. Grannysmovin says:

    Perhaps if they had passed the 2011 American Jobs Act blll we would have more people working full time and being trained in new industries to obtain full time positions. Included in those numbers are people who are disabled and can only work part time, retired seniors who work because they need to supplement their social security or they want something to do. Bush forgets the employers determine if their employees work full time or part time not the other way around. Employers make that decision to protect their bottom line, which impacts their profits. They don’t have to provide health insurance to part time employees, they can them to work extra hours without paying overtime as long as they don’t exceed 40 hours. The onus for this situation is on the failure to pass the 2011 jobs act and employers.

    • itsfun says:

      Granny: The obamacare tax has forced employers to cut their full time work force. Employers are in business to make a profit. They have stock holders that demand dividends. The politicians that wrote the obamacare tax knew this would happen. They wrote the obamacare tax to do just that. Most politicians have no idea how business works and have no idea on how to make profits. Business stays in business by making profits. Just paying for the new governments regulations on business is also hurting the employers. Many single mothers have children out of wedlock and then expect the taxpayers to pay for day care, food stamps, healthcare, etc. Dead beat fathers should be forced to pay for their children, not the tax payers. Social Security was never meant to be a pension, but a program to add to our own savings or earned pensions.

      • Grannysmovin says:

        They would not be making those profits if it were not for their employees, so why not provide them with living wages and health insurance. Healthy productive workers will lead to increased profit satisfying the needs of shareholders, employers and employees. Mr. Judgemental, many single mothers are that way because of divorce and death of their spouse and I said many single mothers only work part time because they can not afford extended day care – where did I say they were looking for you to pay for daycare. When you have raised a family without government assistance, perhaps their was not enough to put into savings or earned pensions;especially on wages created by “Republican Trickle Down Economics”. Have a nice weekend.

        • itsfun says:

          Good morning granny: If employers are forced to pay around 3000 per year for employee health care, should that be considered a raise in wages? How much will the cost of their product be raised? The employer will not end up paying for the obamacare tax, but the consumer of the product will. In the case of the death of a spouse, the surviving person can and does get Social Security for their children. If one is divorced, then the other parent should be forced to pay for child care, I don’t think we should be forced to pay for women that just have children to get more welfare. Somewhere along the line, people have to take responsibility for their own retirement, their own lives,

          • Grannysmovin says:

            If the employee and employer agree that his/her health care coverage is considered part of their compensation package. Please we know that as the cost of business goes up on everything, part of that cost is passed on to the consumer. Yes the spouse receives survivor benefits for the children, however “the monthly amount you would get is a percentage of the deceased’s basic Social Security benefit. It depends on your age and the type of benefit you would be eligible to receive.
            Note: If the person who died was receiving reduced benefits, we base your survivor’s benefit on that amount. The maximum survivors benefit amount is limited to what he or she would receive if they were still alive.

            When there is no disposable money to invest, how do they get a retirement fund if not for social security. They took responsibility, worked hard, raised a family and now you want them to go homeless, or without food, or medication? Please give me the stats that show how many women are having children out of wedlock just to collect welfare. Do I believe there are women who do it, yes. The solution make it that welfare will not be paid to a women for more than 2 children born out of wedlock.

          • itsfun says:

            No one wants to see people go homeless or without food or healthcare.

          • bobnstuff says:

            I have to pay for my company supplied insurance, I check around and as far as I can tell it costs my employer very little if anything to give me insurance. The employers have to offer it but the employee still has to pay for it. You don’t get it for free.

  4. FT66 says:

    Jebbie doesn’t get it. More hours = more pay = more tax.
    Now he wants to milk the poor by working hard thus pay a chunk of tax, while the rich 1% pay peanut money in terms of taxes.

  5. latebloomingrandma says:

    When I was little, there were a lot of factory type jobs around, where high school graduates and young mothers could work their 8 hours, get a fair paycheck and go home. Those jobs are gone. There are few jobs for those with just a basic education, and to get more education is often beyond the means of many. Conservatives don’t seem too helpful in this area. It’s not possible to put yourself through school by working at fast food joints anymore. People working part-time jobs often work in highly physical areas.—-housekeeping, elder care, construction, outdoor work of all sorts. Falling off a ladder or straining one’s back at work is a common occurrence. Having no health care makes it worse. These are hard working people who are often beat down by life. I volunteer at a free medical clinic where these people go for the basics of health care. They are among the infamous 47%. Jeb or The Donald are not going to put them into full time work if they depend on the “market.” The market has them screwed.

  6. johninPCFL says:

    So, will JEB follow the Rick Perry plan for job growth by hiring more government employees? After all, the president doesn’t force businesses to hire, or to make employees full-time or part-time. The only organization he controls is the Federal bureaucracy so I guess JEB is planning to hire millions of new Federal workers.

  7. TZToronto says:

    Perhaps JEB has the same problem his brother, George, has–inarticulateness. I don’t see how any candidate (other than Mittens) can demean the American worker by telling him or her that working longer hours (as in you “you must work longer hours to give your employer fair value for what you are being paid”) is required. Not meaning to defend JEB, but I think that what he may have meant is that Americans need more full-time jobs. Well, (1) Republicans in Congress have done nothing to help make that likely and (2) the majority of the Republican base probably feels that working longer hours means working longer hours for the same pay to make businesses more profitable. So if you’re JEB, what do you do? Do you say that the remarks about working longer hours were misinterpreted and that you meant more full-time jobs, or do you keep your mouth shut so that the right-wing base thinks you meant longer hours for the same pay?

  8. 13observer says:

    Bush is a sympathizer, that’s why I’m voting Trump/Cruz 2016.

  9. dana becker says:

    And what are his suggestions for getting employees more hours? How come they never come up with solutions? Is he just gonna order the job creators to give people more hours? Like a dictator would? Huh Jeb.? Is that your leading with force. How come they only have maxims but no ideas? I mean aren’t they supposed to already have a list of how they intend to accomplish their agenda? Seems to me all I hear are problems with no solutions from them. Heck the GOP still doesn’t have a healthcare plan and they are talking about repealing the ACA through reconciliation now. Just another example of how the GOP leads. Right to the slaughterhouse.

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