Americans Tell Jeb Bush How Many Hours They Work

| by Michael Allen

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush made headlines last week when he advised Americans to "work longer hours" to reach his 4 percent growth goal.

Bush told the New Hampshire The Union Leader last Wednesday:

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.

The Democratic National Committee called it “easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle,” but Bush later claimed he was referring underemployed and part-time workers, noted ABC News.

Bush also blamed Democrats for high taxes on workers, but failed to mention that Republicans blocked a middle-class tax cut in 2010, noted CBS News at the time.

Bush said that Democrats de-valued work, but Democrats have fought for higher wages for American workers, including a $12 minimum wage, noted The New York Times.

With Bush's work advice in hand, The Guardian recently interviewed working Americans in New York City to see exactly how hard they are toiling.

Ann Aptaker, a writer and adjunct professor, said that she cranks out between 60 and 80 hours a week.

Toni Flores told The Guardian that on Tuesday through Friday, he works 12 hours, and clocks in for another 16 hours on Saturday and Sunday, which brings his hourly total to 80 hours per week.

Kevin Forrest told The Guardian that he is at work 60 hours a week doing deliveries, down from his former 90 hours per week.

Scott Ramsdell, who works 40-45 hours a week as an events planner, said: "I think he [Jeb Bush] means just work harder for the same amount of pay and the economy will improve. Which is lame.”

“That would come from someone whose family didn’t have to work. That’s the only people that would think that ordinary citizens should work more,” Joseph Cornwall, a 60-year-old retired postman, added.

The Washington Post noted in February that Bush's wife Columba once "took out a loan to buy $42,311.70 worth of jewelry on a single day."

The Portland Press Herald reported earlier this year that Bush is building a home at his family's compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, which will be the ninth home on the property. Bush already has a home in Coral Gables, Florida.

Sources: ABC News, CBS News, Portland Press Herald, The Guardian, The New York Times
Image Credit: Michael Vadon