Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tore into Jeb Bush for claiming that workers need to be more productive and work longer hours.
During an interview with The New Hampshire Union-Leader editorial board, Bush said, “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.”
Sanders replied to Bush’s comments in a statement, “Unfortunately,” Sanders said, “Gov. Bush does not seem to understand what is happening in our economy today. The sad truth is that because the middle class has declined over the last 40 years, while almost all new income and wealth have gone to the people on top, Americans already work the longest hours of any people in the western industrialized world. In fact, 80 percent of working men work longer than 40 hours a week. What we need now is an economy that provides decent wages and income for the middle class, not demands that people work even longer hours than they currently do.”
Jeb Bush is the ultimate child of privilege. He has never had to have a job. Bush has never worked for a paycheck to keep food on the table. Just like Donald Trump, who was also born rich, Bush has no clue what it is like for people who have to work for a living.
In reality, all Jeb Bush was doing was repeating the core belief of Republican economic ideology that growth is driven by squeezing workers to do more while paying them less. Republicans oppose any law or regulation that benefits workers. The Republican idea of economic perfection is an economy where wealth is concentrated at the top, workers have no basic protections, Obamacare is gone, and there is no such thing as the minimum wage.
The Bush campaign tried to walk back his statement, but the truth has been revealed. Sanders was correct. The U.S. needs an economy that builds from the middle and rewards American workers for their productivity instead of condemning them to a life of low-wage economic slavery.