• Bush: People Should Work More Hours To Grow Economy

    Jeb Bush may have made his first notable gaffe of the 2016 presidential campaign, declaring in an interview that Americans need to “work longer hours” for substantial economic growth to return.

    The Republican presidential candidate was conducting a recorded interview with New Hampshire’s The Union-Leader and was answering a question about his tax plan, which he used as an opportunity to state his goals for economic growth.

    “My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see,” Bush said. “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’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in.”

    According to OECD data, U.S. workers average 1789 hours of work per year, above the global average for developed countries. Among those with full-time jobs the average work week is 47 hours, according to polling by Gallup, while for part-time workers the average is about 26 hours per week.

    Democrats immediately attacked, arguing that Bush was callously calling for more to be squeezed out of hard-working Americans. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) released a statement to The Associated Press saying the choice of words was “easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle.” AA follow-up tweet punched home the narrative that Bush was suggesting American workers were lazy and needed to work harder:

    Enjoying some time away from work? Jeb Bush thinks Americans need to work longer hours: pic.twitter.com/2n8XwwvRcU

    — The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) July 8, 2015


    But Bush may have had a very different intent with his comments. According to the Department of Labor, about 6.5 million Americans are stuck in part-time rather than full-time jobs due to economic conditions. An aide told the AP that Bush’s intent was to highlight how many Americans have been working less than they want to due to President Obama’s policies.

    “Under President Obama, we have the lowest workforce participation rate since 1977, and too many Americans are falling behind,” the statement said. “Only Washington Democrats could be out-of-touch enough to criticize giving more Americans the ability to work, earn a paycheck, and make ends meet.” The average hours worked of part-time workers has fallen sharply from just 15 years ago, something critics claim is partly due to Obamacare classifying a 30-hour job as “full time.” (RELATED: Obamacare’s Biggest Impacts: Americans Losing Hours, Losing Coverage)

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