Jeb Bush believes the American workforce needs to be more productive to achieve a higher rate of growth and success in the job market to reform the nation’s complex tax code, according to a new interview with the Republican presidential candidate.
Speaking to New Hampshire’s The Union Leader on July 8, the former Florida governor answered a question on tax reform with an answer that has now been used as a punching bag against the Bush campaign by Democratic officials.
“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 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 told the crowd.
The Democratic National Committee, which is fundraising for candidates in swing districts and elections, released a statement shortly after the interview, calling Bush’s remarks “easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle.” Specifically, the DNC was referring to Bush’s accusation that Americans need to work longer hours to increase funds and lower taxes.
ABC News noted that the Bush campaign released a rebuttal statement of its own, clarifying what Bush was explaining to the crowd.
“Under President (Barack) Obama, we have the lowest workforce participation rate since 1977, and too many Americans are falling behind. Only Washington Democrats could be out-of-touch to criticize giving more Americans the ability to work, earn a paycheck, and make ends meet.”
Bush defended the right to increase the nation’s minimum wage, commenting that “their incomes need to grow,” referring to Americans’ working two jobs.