Bush is out of touch

On Wednesday of this week, Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush made some interesting comments about the economy to a New Hampshire audience. During an interview with The Union Leader, a conservative New Hampshire newspaper, Bush discussed tax reform and other economic policies that the American people can look forward to if he is elected president.

However, Bush’s most important point was one that demonstrates that he thinks responsibility for the faltering economy does not lie with government regulations or the actions of Wall Street, but is the fault of regular working Americans. He said, “My aspiration for the country, and I believe we can achieve it, is 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.”

Bush immediately faced criticism for this statement and attempted to clarify that he only meant that our country needs to find full-time work for all Americans who want it, but it is clear from his comments, in context, that this was not his intention. Jeb Bush really believes that Americans are lazy and that the weakness of the economy can be blamed on the fact that Americans are simply refusing to work hard enough. Bush’s follow up comments about finding jobs for the underemployed were a transparent attempt at damage control.

Why does Bush believe something so obviously absurd? The problem is that Jeb Bush was born into one of America’s elite families and has never had to worry about putting food on the table or being able to afford to send his children to college. Thanks to his family, Bush was guaranteed to be successful and guaranteed, at the very least, a substantial income for his entire life. He has no possible way to understand the way regular, everyday Americans live their lives.

The reality is that Americans are working harder and longer hours than they ever have before while wages have remained stagnant. Just take a look at this graph from the Economic Policy Institute:

Productivity vs Compensation

Productivity vs Compensation

Since 1970, the productivity of the American worker has grown steadily without any corresponding increase in compensation. This comes largely as a result of American workers spending more and more time at their jobs. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 40% of Americans are working the “standard” 40 hour week. The average work week is 47 hours (nearly a full extra day over the supposed 40 hour work week). Over 50% of Americans are working overtime every single week, and 20% of those surveyed said they work over 60 hours per week.

The problem with our economy is not that our workers are lazy or that Americans aren’t working enough hours. The problem is that Jeb Bush and his friends on Wall Street and in Washington DC have rigged the game against American workers. A strong and vital economy is based on the ability of consumers to purchase the goods and services they need and desire. Thanks to the elites, like Jeb Bush, Americans don’t have the purchasing power to continue driving our economy.

Bush’s comments show that he is dangerously out of touch, not just with the lives of regular Americans but with reality itself. Jeb Bush has revealed himself as a candidate who will not fight for the middle class. As we expected all along, he is only concerned with growing the wealth of elite families like his. If you want a president who will fight to make America into the economic powerhouse it once was, then you need to look outside the Republican or Democratic parties. Cast your vote for Art Drew for President of the United States in 2016, and you will have a president who works as hard as you do.