Former Florida Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Jeb “Brother of George W.” Bush proclaimed this week that Americans “need to work longer hours and through their productivity gain more income for their families.” Leading Democratic Presidential candidates Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton diametrically oppose this stance.  Senator Sanders took Jeb Bush to task in a statement: “Unfortunately, Governor Bush does not seem to understand what is happening in our economy today.  The sad truth is that because the middle class has declined over the last 40 years, while almost all new income and wealth have gone to the people on top, Americans already work the longest hours of any people in the western industrialized world.  In fact, 80 percent of working men work longer than 40 hours a week.  What we need now is an economy that provides decent wages and income for the middle class, not demands that people work even longer hours than they currently do.”  Secretary Clinton aptly tweeted: “Anyone who believes Americans aren’t working hard enough hasn’t met enough American workers.”

While Jeb Bush’s later clarification that he would like to see a shift of part-time workers to full-time jobs has some merit, he has again showed a propensity for W-esque gaffes and provided bulletin board material for his liberal opposition. Bush makes a valid point that the number of part-time workers is still elevated compared to before the recession. However, having more people work more hours isn’t sufficient to increase productivity. As the Guardian points out, there needs to be a commensurate increase in demand for their goods and services. Bernie Sanders would argue that GOP economic policies (and trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, endorsed by President Obama) will undermine demand for American goods and services. Structural changes in American economic strategy (e.g., jobs programs to enhance our crumbling infrastructure) are needed to ensure the ultimate success of American workers and a true comeback for the middle class.

Here is Bernie Sanders to sing “Can You Feel The Bern Tonight?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUnPmiVWAi8&feature=em-upload_owner

Bernie won’t surrender to the Billionaires
Wall Street Hedge Fund Managers – They’d better beware
Corporate tax loop holes – Bernie will close them it’s true
This Democratic Socialist will advocate for you

And Can You Feel The Bern tonight?
Estoy En Fuego
It’s not enough for this wild-eyed Senator
That he’s come this far

And Can You Feel The Bern tonight?
Fire never sleeps
It’s enough to make Jeb and Hillary
Extremely nervous

Now’s the time for America to simply Feel The Bern
Multi-national corporations never seem to learn
Bernie knows America belongs to you and me
Bernie will fight hard against Income Inequality

And Can You Feel The Bern tonight?
Estoy En Fuego
It’s not enough for this wild-eyed Senator
That he’s come this far

And Can You Feel The Bern tonight?
Fire never sleeps
It’s enough to make Jeb and Hillary
Extremely nervous

“Can You Feel The Bern Tonight?”

Lyrics by James Rustad. Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.