This will be my last BLOG for the next two (2) weeks….it has been two (2) weeks since my last BLOG….I am studying as if my life depended on it and in many ways, to me, it does….the fact that I have lived on four (4) continents and speak a few languages tells me that I can do my work both nationally and globally so I made this promise to myself that I would achieve this certification….
However, I wanted to remind my followers of my study situation while writing about Jeb and the Democrats….Look, to accelerate economic growth in this country, Americans need to work longer….Jeb wasn’t saying that Americans don’t want to work hard….he was saying that we need to get Americans back to working a good, solid 40 hours per week and possibly more….the exact words that Jeb Bush said are as follows (please remember that I am as liberal as they come to a certain degree):
“My aspiration for the country – and I believe we can achieve it – is a 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 is the only way were going to get out of this rut that we’re in.”
Now, to be fair, Jeb Bush did achieve a 4% economic growth each year as Governor of the State of Florida….it was mainly due to the housing boom…which eventually crashed and did not make it easy for his successor…
The average length of the American working week declined significantly between 1960 and 1980….and has since remained persistently below its historical peak…The percentage of the population at work or seeking work has dropped to the lowest levels since women entered the workforce in large numbers in the 1970’s. Most troublingly of all, prime-age men – aged 18 to 54 – have been dropping out of the labor force for years. The Great Recession accelerated the trend, but it began before – and it is continuing as I write this.
Those who work less, earn less. In 2011, 18.5% of the poorest quintile of households contained a full-time worker, as compared to 60.5 percent in the middle quintile and 78.2% in the top quintile…these numbers do not take into consideration those who have ‘retired…for whatever reason’, the disabled, infirmed, etc. However, as we all know, an economy where people earn less than they could is an economy underperforming its potential.
The reality check is this….it is not that a wealthy country has cut the length of the normative working week…what has happened is that many Americans who want full-time work must settle for part-time work…and some other Americans, including some men in their prime working years, have given up on work entirely. A negative is that a majority of these under-employed Americans, for the most part, are not devoting themselves to childcare, elder care, community involvement or self-improvement…they are increasing their hours watching TV, shopping (yes, for those with a little bit of disposable income…they shop…or ‘decorate’) or playing video games.
Another issue to think about is promoting immigration, which is another policy commitment of Jeb Bush…however, that will most likely make the American non-work problem worse. According to some economists, immigration promotes wage growth by displacing natives from lower-paid jobs and driving them to seek higher-skilled and better paid work. In the process, though, many of those displaced natives will drop out of the work force altogether.
I am sure that Jeb Bush intends that his economic policy and a larger Gross Domestic Product will translate into more opportunity and higher wages for the average person. However, the last time the American economy saw a significant improvement for the American worker was in the late 1990’s, when the improvement was driven by a temporary pause in healthcare cost inflation. When the costs of employee benefits rise more slowly, employee pay can rise faster. The average American employer pays more for healthcare every year (benefit to the employee) but the employee does not receive the money in his/her pocket. It is sent to the healthcare industry.
According to many sources, the United States is the most overworked, developed nation in the world….I think that the average work week (including exempt and non-exempt workers) now stands at somewhere between 44 – 48 hours/week….depending on the statistic one is researching. I won’t get into any kinds of comparisons as to how much American workers do work as compared to our British/French/German/Japanese, etc. counterparts or the benefits the American workers receives as compared to the aforementioned nationals.
There is something called a ‘true’ unemployment….that is a percentage of the population that just does not ever want to work or will not ever go back to work….we are slowly approaching that number….most people that I know that want to work, are working now….I don’t know too many lazy people….I’ve worked for one in the past but that doesn’t count in the scheme of things…however, if those that I know don’t work outside the home, they are doing something constructive with their lives other than spinning at a gym…yes, I do hope that the economy continues to improve so that those that want to work more hours are able to do so….
Please note that I will continue with this BLOG on Friday, July 31st….hopefully, I’ll have passed my certification exam, will be getting ready to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday and will be sending my daughter off to Naval Justice School to begin her ‘career’ serving our great nation (warts and all). If you have any questions regarding your employee’s work hours, benefits, etc., please contact Rosanne Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 484-798-1236.