Jeb Bush Wants Me to Do More What?

Jeb Bush Wants Me to Do More What?

From the Files - Jeb Bush to Announce 2016 Bid
David Manning
By Suelain Moy

Yesterday, Republican hopeful Jeb Bush ticked off hard-working Americans everywhere when he said that in order to grow the economy, people had to work longer hours. Here’s the skinny:

What 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 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.”

This Is All We Heard: “People need to work longer hours.” And “Let them eat cake.” Then we played Hall & Oates “Out of Touch” a few times.

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Then He Talked Some More. Later Bush clarified that his remarks really were in reference to underemployment and part-time workers. His campaign cited stark statistics of falling workforce participation, which are currently at their lowest level since October 1977. It also was a dig at Obamacare, which had previously defined the work week for a full-time employee at 30 hours, causing many employers to cap work weeks at 29 hours.

Who’s right? Well, as it turns out, both are. Workforce participation in the U.S. is at 62.6 percent. The Bureau of Labor says there are 6.5 million people in the U.S. who are working part-time because they can’t find full-time employment.

But it’s also true that many Americans are already putting in longer hours, and taking fewer and shorter vacations. A recent Time cover story called out, “Save the American Vacation” and referred to us as a “no-vacation nation.” A 2014 Gallup poll claims the average work week for many Americans who work full-time is more like 47 hours (not 40), and 21 percent report they work between 50 to 59 hours per week. Another 18 percent said they work 60 hours or more. (Only the South Koreans work harder, but we really don’t want to emulate them.)

That didn’t stop Democratic rivals from hollering back. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Tweeted: “Anyone who believes Americans aren’t working hard enough hasn’t met enough American workers.”

So there—for now.

Chart of the Day: Long Way to Go on Coronavirus Testing

Healthcare workers with ChristianaCare test people with symptoms of the coronavirus in a drive-thru in the parking lot of Chase
Jennifer Corbett
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.

After Spending $2 Billion, Air Force Bails Out on Planned Upgrades of B-2 Bombers

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over the Missouri Sky after taking off from the Whiteman Air For..
© Hyungwon Kang / Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”

Big Hurdle for Sanders’ Plan to Cancel Student Debt

Chip East / REUTERS
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.  

The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”

Number of the Day: $7 Million

NY mayor cites climate stance in endorsing Obama
By The Fiscal Times Staff

That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”