Taking a page from John Roberts, Jeb Bush solves the problem of workers working part-time who want to work full-time: The way to create full-time jobs for part-time workers who want, but can’t find, full-time jobs is for part-time workers who want, but can’t find, full-time jobs to start working full-time. [With awesome update!]
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.
— Jeb Bush, in an interview published today in the Manchester, NH Union Leader
Anyone who discounts 6.5 million people stuck in part-time work & seeking full-time jobs hasnt listened to working Americans @hillaryclinton
— Jeb Bush, on Twitter later today, responding to a Tweet by Hillary Clinton that included a chart from the Economic Policy Institute showing stagnating wages in the face of dramatically rising worker productivity since the 1970s.
The way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
— John Roberts, writing for a 4-1-4 Supreme Court plurality in 2007 in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, saying that voluntary-student-participation school race desegregation/integration plans in Seattle and Louisville (in two separate cases argued together) violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
Okay, these aren’t quite the same thing, but one reminded me of the other. Roberts conflated remedial government policy with longstanding private-sector race discrimination that resulted in the need for government remedial policy. Bush, by contrast, identifies a problem (people who work only part-time because they are unable to find a full-time job) and thinks that’s the same as proposing a solution to the problem (how to create an economy in which everyone who wants a full-time job can get one).
Which I suppose is why everyone interpreted his comment to mean what the statement says. They assumed he knows the difference between problem and solution, between coherence and tautology, and therefore was suggesting that the way to bring about 4% annual growth in GDP is for workers to decide to work 24/7. Silly them.
Of course, also, by his decision to use the term “productivity,” he unwittingly walked headlong into the stark facts of wage stagnation in the face of significant worker-productivity gains in the last forty years. For which Occupy Wall Street, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are grateful. I am, too.
This guy is dumber than a rock. The Koch brothers badly need to find a smarter puppet. Soon.
UPDATE: Reader Sandwichman and I just exchanged the following comments in the Comments thread to this post:
July 10, 2015 11:53 am
Dean Baker at the Guardian (not Dean’s headline):
July 10, 2015 1:23 pm
Well, with due respect to Dean Baker, Sandwichman, I think that what Bush is suggesting is not that we emulate the old Soviet Union but instead current Russia. And that countries such as Germany, Holland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Austria do so, too. See the chart published yesterday by Hunter Schwarz online at the Washington Post.
Wow, no wonder Germany’s GDP growth has held up so poorly, and that that country’s unemployment rate was so much worse than this country’s during the aftermath of the 2008 international financial-industry crash! [This is sarcasm, folks. Germany’s economy held up way better than ours.]*
Seriously, folks, here’s the list:
- Mexico: 42.8 hours
- Costa Rica: 42.6
- Greece: 39.3
- Chile: 38.3
- Russia: 38.2
- Latvia: 37.3
- Poland: 37.0
- Iceland: 35.8
- Estonia: 35.75
- Hungary: 35.7
- Portugal: 35.7
- Israel: 35.6
- Lithuania: 35.3
- Ireland: 35.0
- United States: 34.4
- Czech Republic: 34.2
- New Zealand: 33.9
- Italy: 33.3
- Japan: 33.25
- Canada: 32.8
- Spain: 32.5
- United Kingdom: 32.25
- Australia: 32
- Finland: 31.6
- Luxembourg: 31.6
- Austria: 31.3
- Sweden: 30.9
- Switzerland: 30.1
- Slovenia: 30.0
- Denmark: 27.6
- Norway: 27.4
- Netherlands: 27.4
- Germany: 26.4
Yup. Definitely prefer Russia’s economy to Germany’s! Sounds like a winning argument for Bush.
Other great comments in the thread include this one by Frank Stain:
July 10, 2015 9:55 am
“This should not pass unnoticed: in trying to wriggle out of his “people need to work longer hours” gaffe, he characterized people working 30 hours a week instead of 40 as “getting in line and being dependent on government.” The scroungers! ”
Why does Jeb Bush hate stay-at-home moms?
And this one by Sandwichman:
July 9, 2015 10:28 pm
McCarthy, eh? Now I remember who Jeb reminds me of. Not Joe but Charlie.
Actually, I came this-close to adding, after my comment that the Koch brothers badly need to find a smarter puppet, that Charlie McCarthy would qualify. Wish I had!
Updated 7/10 at 2:25 p.m.
*Bracketed comment added 7/11 at 1030 p.m.