Any American alive should understand that Republicans not only work solely for the rich, corporations, and the billionaire Koch brothers, they also work against the best interests of the people; particularly the American labor force. Where President Obama and Democrats praise American workers and advocate for higher wages and better working conditions, Republicans have been on a crusade to portray American labor as entitled, inherently lazy, unproductive, and a drag on corporate profits. For the past five years, Republicans have systematically killed Americans’ jobs and kept America’s hard-working and highly-productive labor force on the losing end of the Republicans’ precious income disparity war.
America’s labor force is one of the most productive in the world and they work longer hours than any industrialized nation on Earth. However, in parroting the typical Koch-conservative line, Jeb Bush inferred that Americans are incredibly lazy and unproductive in claiming they need to “be a lot more productive and work longer hours.” Bush, like every Republican, ignores the truth about American labor and his pathetic attempt to walk back his assault on workers fooled no-one considering it is his Party that has waged a brutal war on American workers for years. The truth that Bush ignores is that many, many Americans already work long hours at one and often two, minimum wage jobs and are still barely able to make ends meet. Americans who are stuck in part-time jobs do want to work full hours, but they cannot find other work due to Republican job-killing so they cannot make ends meet without the government assistance Koch-Republicans want eliminated.
Some facts that Republicans and Bush know are true are that 86 percent of American males and 67 percent of American females work way more than 40 hours per week; in most cases they are not being paid well for their world-leading productivity. According to data gathered and reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 1950 average productivity per American worker has increased 400 percent. Since Ronald Reagan ushered in a culture of labor existing to serve the very rich, that increased productivity has resulted in Draconian declining or stagnating wages. Compared with other leading industrialized nations, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers” according to the International Labour Organization.
The tired Republican plan to grow the economy proffered by Jeb Bush is a continuation of the GOP’s job-killing crusade, and an integral part of the Koch-Republican scheme to create a desperate population in poverty. Bush said lazy American workers need to start working longer hours without a guaranteed federal minimum wage, and they will have to continue doing so until they are at least 70 years old. According to Bush, the Koch-Republican economic prescription is the only way to create more jobs, guarantee “4 percent growth as far as the eye can see,” and increase worker productivity. If the Koch brothers gain control of the third branch of government, the Executive, Americans will work longer hours for poverty wages without a day off and without overtime pay. None of these Republican proposals are, as they claim, to grow the economy, increase productivity, or create jobs; that has never been even a small part of their economic agenda. Their agenda is solely destroying long-standing labor protections put in place by the New Deal. Republicans have lusted to abolish New Deal worker protections since their inception with a simple goal of creating a slave-labor workforce and increase wealth for their corporate masters.
Taken together, all of the GOP’s economic schemes, and they are all pro-corporate schemes, are proven job killers that Jeb Bush proposed and Republicans have quietly been passing as “job creation bills;” fortunately they failed to get past the Senate, or the President’s veto pen. Still, they continue unabated because besides enriching their corporate masters, a great deal of the Republican assault on jobs and labor is borne of their religious hatred of any worker provisions; provisions the Koch brothers have made no secret they want eliminated immediately.
For example, two years ago Republicans passed legislation that eliminated overtime pay they labeled as one of their most brilliant job creation bills. Even a moron understands that if an employer can get away with not paying overtime wages, they are not going to hire extra workers to avoid paying time-and-a-half. Eliminating the requirement to pay time-and-a-half means employers will require employees to work well over their 40 hour work week to forgo hiring another worker. It is exactly the same idea that Wisconsin Republicans are pursuing in a Koch-ALEC bill reinstating the seven day workweek; another Republican assault on the New Deal’s worker protections.
Wisconsin’s GOP is Hell-bent on helping corporate manufacturing and retail employers, and kill jobs in the process, by abolishing an existing law that requires employers in those sectors to give employees at least 24 hours off during each consecutive seven-day period. This is part and parcel of Bush’s call for Americans to work more longer days, longer periods without rest, and for less pay, no overtime, and no chance the poverty-level minimum wage will ever be increased. As it is now in Wisconsin, and employee can request to skip their weekly day off, but an employer has to get approval from the state’s Department of Workforce Development to accommodate existing laws and they need a convincing reason. The corporate Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce association that probably paid ALEC to write the bill complains that the idea of an employer having to fill out a form is a job killing, onerous and unnecessary government hurdle, and an assault on free market capitalism.
As a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland and the former director of the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin notes, “I think it’s been portrayed as an effort to help workers; it’s clearly designed to benefit employers. The idea of being in a position where you’re ‘asked’ to work seven days (without rest) raises the question of how much of a choice it really is.” There is plenty of evidence of corporate labor practices that force workers into working more hours by using intimidation and fear of losing their job if they refuse. This is particularly true as many Americans remain desperate to hold onto any employment at all; a fact that is not lost on corporate employers and a primary reason wages continue to stagnate.
In many cases, Wisconsin workers receive last-minute calls directing them to come in immediately or stay home from an unplanned shift that decimates the argument that employees are rushing to “volunteer” to work without a day off. In a fair labor market, something Wisconsin is not, fear of employer retribution or intimidation when it comes to work schedules would be illegal. In Wisconsin if an employee feels they are being treated unfairly, they either accept it as the cost of living in a fascist state or lose their job. That is the environment Scott Walker has created as a devotee of the Koch vision for America; a vision that is void of worker protections and openly promotes mandated corporate slavery.
It is really unclear if Republicans really believe Americans are so stupid they will continue buying into the Koch vision of an America with a predominately peasant class working for slave wages for the benefit of the rich and corporations. It is glaringly obvious that is their goal, and very curious that they continue being elected even after perpetually insulting the majority of American workers. Conservatives and the GOP have made no secret that eliminating all of the New Deal’s provisions for workers has been their decades-long goal, but why any American worker would support a seven-day work week, no overtime pay, no minimum wage, and no retirement until their body breaks down is beyond comprehension. Still, incomprehensible or not, Republicans continue being sent to Washington and state legislatures to do the Koch brothers’ bidding and appear to be on pace to create a peasant population serving the interests of their filthy rich campaign donors; all in the name of economic salvation an alarming number of stupid Americans continue falling for.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.