Hopefully working Americans are listening to Jeb Bush on the campaign trail. If they are, they should quickly recognize that Jeb Bush is even more tone deaf to the plight of America’s working poor than 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney was. Romney of course stumbled miserably when footage was leaked of him telling an audience of wealthy supporters:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what… These are people who pay no income tax…”[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
After Romney’s ignoble defeat in November 2012, one would think the 2016 Republican field would exercise more caution when talking about working class Americans this cycle. However, multimillionaire Jeb Bush is taking up where Romney left off, as yet another wealthy GOP scold who shames the poor and asks them to work harder, work longer and work for less.
On Tuesday, in Iowa, Jeb Bush attacked Barack Obama’s plan to require employers to pay overtime to salaried employees who earn as little as 23,660 dollars a year. In Bush’s view paying a fast food manager who works 70 hours a week less than 2,000 dollars a month is fine, because of course he is more concerned about the profits of CEOs and shareholders than he is about the well-being of the American worker pulling 12 hours shifts, 6 days a week, to make ends meet.
On July 9th in New Hampshire, Bush insisted that Americans need to work longer hours. He told the editors at the New Hampshire Union Leader:
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’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in.
Bush wants workers to work longer hours, but he doesn’t want employers to provide them with extra compensation if they put in over 40 hour work weeks. Not only does Bush want employees working longer hours every week, but he also wants them to retire from the workforce later. Jeb Bush is a strong proponent of raising the retirement age before workers can be eligible to collect social security.
Jeb Bush has also argued in favor of eliminating the federal minimum wage. Not just freezing it, or refusing to raise it – he has expressed his desire to outright abolish the federal minimum wage. If you cobble all of Bush’s economic plans together, he wants employers to have the right to pay employees less than 7.25 an hour, deny them overtime pay, and force them to worker longer work weeks and to retire later in life.
Jeb Bush wants American workers to work longer, work harder and work for less. His contempt for working class Americans is quiet obvious.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.