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Bush: Americans should "Work Longer Hours"

ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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7/20/2015 2:10:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The media frenzy over Jeb Bush's comments regarding Americans "working longer hours" is, while not astonishing, greatly disheartening because the attacks are at their core intellectually dishonest -- or, insofar as they are honest, they're egregiously ignorant and misplaced.

Here's what Jeb Bush was referring to when he said that Americans need to "work longer hours":

(a) involuntarily part-time employed workers
(b) marginally attached workers sitting on the sidelines and not currently looking for a job.

You could add a (c), which would be voluntarily part-time workers, which may have resulted from the reduction in labor supply resulting from the ACA [http://www.cbo.gov...]: i.e., delinking health insurance from place of employment induced some people to cut back their hours. Heck, we can even add (d), which could simply apply to remaining labor-market slack, broadly speaking -- marginally attached or otherwise. NAIRU estimates are roughly 5 percent [https://www.chicagofed.org...], so though we're making progress toward full employment, there are plenty of workers who, still, could "work longer hours."

You can make a moral case for this, of course, but the trade-off, with all three of these segments of potential full-time workers, is that a smaller labor stock means (a) lower productivity and (b) lower trend growth. We're used to, for instance, 3 percent real GDP growth. Now, we're looking at a new trend line of a little more than 2 percent [http://www.federalreserve.gov...]. We know that a significant portion of the decline in labor force participation, as well as the rise in involuntarily part-time employed workers and the fall in productivity, is cyclical. Bush's plan is simply to reverse course on this precarious trend, and for good reason. Lower trend RGDP growth means that current anemic growth and stagnant wages are a "new normal." Surely, no one desires that, nor is it efficient.

But the attacks from Democratic candidates are also totally off the mark. Again, you can make a moral case that workers shouldn't work longer hours. However, when Bernie Sanders charges that Americans work "the longest hours in the Western industrialized world," he's flat-out wrong [http://blogs.wsj.com...]. In fact, we're just above the average of OECD countries [https://data.oecd.org...]. Whether that's a positive or negative is, again, largely a moral question, but let's not taint a serious policy issue with demagoguery.

Then, cue Hillary Clinton with that silly graph from the Economic Policy Institute suggesting that, for the past thirty hours, wages have lagged productivity growth -- roughly flat in real terms in spite of productivity doubling. That sounds positively outrageous. Too bad -- or, in fact, thankfully -- it's horsepucky.

First, right off the bat, if we look at real compensation in lieu of real wages, we see a significant bifurcation in the graph. Even if it were true that wages themselves were flat, hourly compensation has risen appreciably.

Second, real "wages" is an incomplete measure because it ignores not only benefits, but also salaried workers.

Third, the "real" wage measure normalizes by the CPI. This is to say that the Consumer Price Index constructed by the BLS is used to deflate the numbers. However, this is a flawed metric which tends to overstate inflation. Relative to the PCE Index, the CPI tends to run 30 to 50 basis points higher due to quality bias, lower-frequency adjustments to the market basket, and the inability to account for the substitution effect. If we use the PCE or the GDP Deflator, again, there's a massive shift in the graph.

Fourth, there are a number of technical issues with computing actual productivity. In fact, many of those issues may be working in reverse now -- with Silicon Valley economists questioning whether there even *is* a productivity slowdown [http://www.wsj.com...]. The issues are somewhat complex, but it's likely that the remainder of the gap is roughly closed by simple measurement problems.

[http://www.economics21.org...]

Case in point: stop making silly arguments. Focus on the *substance* of what Jeb Bush will offer. No one disagrees -- or should disagree -- that there are unemployed and underemployed workers. Insofar as you accept that premise, you agree with Jeb. The central question is *how* he intends to boost trend RGDP growth, or even whether 4 percent is even plausible, which is something I even question.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

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Wylted
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7/20/2015 2:22:18 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I can't believe that the media and politicians would be intellectually dishonest. I'm flabbergasted. I'm going to start getting my news from alternative media like Infowars.com . If the mainstream media and politicians are all dishonest, just maybe the people like Alex Jones claiming they're dishonest were right all along, and we should start paying more attention to them.
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7/20/2015 11:02:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/20/2015 2:22:18 AM, Wylted wrote:
I can't believe that the media and politicians would be intellectually dishonest. I'm flabbergasted. I'm going to start getting my news from alternative media like Infowars.com . If the mainstream media and politicians are all dishonest, just maybe the people like Alex Jones claiming they're dishonest were right all along, and we should start paying more attention to them.

lol
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ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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7/21/2015 9:57:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/21/2015 8:42:09 PM, j50wells wrote:
Stop taking our money and we might

Who's taking your money?
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

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Vox_Veritas
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7/21/2015 10:36:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Now you've got me hoping Jeb will win...sounds like he's perhaps the best GOP candidate.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

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https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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7/21/2015 10:38:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/21/2015 10:36:54 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Now you've got me hoping Jeb will win...sounds like he's perhaps the best GOP candidate.

I wasn't so much opining on Jeb as a candidate--though I agree that he's probably the best out of the GOP field, though that isn't exactly saying much--but rather clarifying one comment he made that was taken wildly out of context.
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Sooner
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7/23/2015 8:58:00 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
There's a plant about 17 minutes away from where I live. When I was younger I worked there 32 days before quitting. The fact that I made it that long still blows my mind even to this day, 13 years later.

I still know a maintenance guy that works there. He only stayed because maintenance people have a way more reasonable expectation of duties and hours than the rest of the plant. It's harder to control and abuse skilled, highly trained people that you must have than it is to control people that can be replaced quickly and easily and don't have many options.

It is an energy drink plant. They want you to arrive 20 minutes early for a daily meeting. You can't clock in early, but if you don't arrive 20 minutes early, you will lose your job.

Here it is. You start out at minimum wage. They work 12 hours every day. They also work 7 days a week. 84 hours a week on the clock. (But closer to 90 in reality). The work is physically grueling. I would carry heavy boxes up and down steep long stairs, and they were wet. The floors had oil leaks all over the place. I saw 7 people fall hard. Only 2 actually needed an ambulance. The place had no air. The temperature guages maxed out at like 120 degrees, so I'm not sure what the actual temperature was. With the job I did, a lot of times I couldn't get my hands open when I woke up. We were told to run hot water over them until we could open and close our hands and move our fingers.

If Jeb Bush ever wants to try it, he can message me on here. I'll direct him, and he can try it for a couple weeks and tell me what he thinks. Maybe 98 hours a week would be the new magic number.
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Sooner
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7/23/2015 9:08:00 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I worked every week 84 hours a week. I worked 32 straight days without a day off before deciding the madness was over. And no, the U.S. government does nothing to hold them accountable, and it is legal. If I needed to cash their checks, I had to do it on my lunch because I had no days off. I'd get home, get a bite to eat, watch tv about an hour and go to bed. So I had about 2 hours free time each day and no days off at minimum wage. When should I have squeezed in more hours?
Ignoring problems doesn't make them go away.
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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7/23/2015 11:31:13 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/23/2015 9:08:00 AM, Sooner wrote:
I worked every week 84 hours a week. I worked 32 straight days without a day off before deciding the madness was over. And no, the U.S. government does nothing to hold them accountable, and it is legal. If I needed to cash their checks, I had to do it on my lunch because I had no days off. I'd get home, get a bite to eat, watch tv about an hour and go to bed. So I had about 2 hours free time each day and no days off at minimum wage. When should I have squeezed in more hours?

Clearly, you didn't even read my post. That was a complete and utter strawmen of Jeb Bush's comment, as I accentuated in my OP. He wasn't ask you to "squeeze in more hours," nor were his remarks even targeted at people already working full-time. He was speaking primarily of marginally attached and involuntarily part-time employed workers.
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inferno
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7/23/2015 11:40:07 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/20/2015 2:10:41 AM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
The media frenzy over Jeb Bush's comments regarding Americans "working longer hours" is, while not astonishing, greatly disheartening because the attacks are at their core intellectually dishonest -- or, insofar as they are honest, they're egregiously ignorant and misplaced.

Here's what Jeb Bush was referring to when he said that Americans need to "work longer hours":

(a) involuntarily part-time employed workers
(b) marginally attached workers sitting on the sidelines and not currently looking for a job.

You could add a (c), which would be voluntarily part-time workers, which may have resulted from the reduction in labor supply resulting from the ACA [http://www.cbo.gov...]: i.e., delinking health insurance from place of employment induced some people to cut back their hours. Heck, we can even add (d), which could simply apply to remaining labor-market slack, broadly speaking -- marginally attached or otherwise. NAIRU estimates are roughly 5 percent [https://www.chicagofed.org...], so though we're making progress toward full employment, there are plenty of workers who, still, could "work longer hours."

You can make a moral case for this, of course, but the trade-off, with all three of these segments of potential full-time workers, is that a smaller labor stock means (a) lower productivity and (b) lower trend growth. We're used to, for instance, 3 percent real GDP growth. Now, we're looking at a new trend line of a little more than 2 percent [http://www.federalreserve.gov...]. We know that a significant portion of the decline in labor force participation, as well as the rise in involuntarily part-time employed workers and the fall in productivity, is cyclical. Bush's plan is simply to reverse course on this precarious trend, and for good reason. Lower trend RGDP growth means that current anemic growth and stagnant wages are a "new normal." Surely, no one desires that, nor is it efficient.

But the attacks from Democratic candidates are also totally off the mark. Again, you can make a moral case that workers shouldn't work longer hours. However, when Bernie Sanders charges that Americans work "the longest hours in the Western industrialized world," he's flat-out wrong [http://blogs.wsj.com...]. In fact, we're just above the average of OECD countries [https://data.oecd.org...]. Whether that's a positive or negative is, again, largely a moral question, but let's not taint a serious policy issue with demagoguery.

Then, cue Hillary Clinton with that silly graph from the Economic Policy Institute suggesting that, for the past thirty hours, wages have lagged productivity growth -- roughly flat in real terms in spite of productivity doubling. That sounds positively outrageous. Too bad -- or, in fact, thankfully -- it's horsepucky.

First, right off the bat, if we look at real compensation in lieu of real wages, we see a significant bifurcation in the graph. Even if it were true that wages themselves were flat, hourly compensation has risen appreciably.

Second, real "wages" is an incomplete measure because it ignores not only benefits, but also salaried workers.

Third, the "real" wage measure normalizes by the CPI. This is to say that the Consumer Price Index constructed by the BLS is used to deflate the numbers. However, this is a flawed metric which tends to overstate inflation. Relative to the PCE Index, the CPI tends to run 30 to 50 basis points higher due to quality bias, lower-frequency adjustments to the market basket, and the inability to account for the substitution effect. If we use the PCE or the GDP Deflator, again, there's a massive shift in the graph.

Fourth, there are a number of technical issues with computing actual productivity. In fact, many of those issues may be working in reverse now -- with Silicon Valley economists questioning whether there even *is* a productivity slowdown [http://www.wsj.com...]. The issues are somewhat complex, but it's likely that the remainder of the gap is roughly closed by simple measurement problems.

[http://www.economics21.org...]

Case in point: stop making silly arguments. Focus on the *substance* of what Jeb Bush will offer. No one disagrees -- or should disagree -- that there are unemployed and underemployed workers. Insofar as you accept that premise, you agree with Jeb. The central question is *how* he intends to boost trend RGDP growth, or even whether 4 percent is even plausible, which is something I even question.

When Bush number 3 gets in the White House, my friend, there wont be any jobs left. Mark my words. =()
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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7/23/2015 11:43:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/23/2015 11:40:07 AM, inferno wrote:
When Bush number 3 gets in the White House, my friend, there wont be any jobs left. Mark my words. =()

That's just really silly, unless you're predicting that a meteor will explode or an alien invasion -- the one Paul Krugman warned us of, of course (cute little pun to my fellow econ nerds -- come read this, 16k) -- will take place because the extraterrestrials from Planet Kleptar just really hate Jeb.
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inferno
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7/23/2015 12:45:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/23/2015 11:43:28 AM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 7/23/2015 11:40:07 AM, inferno wrote:
When Bush number 3 gets in the White House, my friend, there wont be any jobs left. Mark my words. =()

That's just really silly, unless you're predicting that a meteor will explode or an alien invasion -- the one Paul Krugman warned us of, of course (cute little pun to my fellow econ nerds -- come read this, 16k) -- will take place because the extraterrestrials from Planet Kleptar just really hate Jeb.

No its not silly. I told the last person that Bush number 2 was gonna send us into a recession. They didn't think I was joking around after it happened. =)
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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7/23/2015 12:55:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/23/2015 12:45:25 PM, inferno wrote:
At 7/23/2015 11:43:28 AM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 7/23/2015 11:40:07 AM, inferno wrote:
When Bush number 3 gets in the White House, my friend, there wont be any jobs left. Mark my words. =()

That's just really silly, unless you're predicting that a meteor will explode or an alien invasion -- the one Paul Krugman warned us of, of course (cute little pun to my fellow econ nerds -- come read this, 16k) -- will take place because the extraterrestrials from Planet Kleptar just really hate Jeb.

No its not silly. I told the last person that Bush number 2 was gonna send us into a recession. They didn't think I was joking around after it happened. =)

That wasn't idiosyncratic to Bush 2; it could've happened even under Clinton 1, because he *also* deregulated the banks en masse, and that's what actually induced the financial crisis. People attributing it to tax cuts are just silly, ignorant people.
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RitrApexPredator
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7/23/2015 2:20:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
So first post on this site so take it easy on my grammar.
Anyways after reviewing your post Ive seen 3 premisses first that the American worker works more or less on average than most of the progressive world. Second that productivity is directly correlated to hours worked. Third the premise that the purpose of Jebs proposal would have a favorable impact.

1) Having reviewed your source by the wall street journal, simple math tells us that the number 1 ranked country Mexico averages a 6hr day. This doesn't consider though that cultural situation is very different in Mexico. How many colleges are there? There is a huge student body in America 21 million enrolled every year these people are considered part of the population yet not part of the labor force for 2 -12 years. This also doesn't address quality of work or type of work.

2)The other thing to consider is that their (American) level of training increases their productivity/usefulness. If you compare a day laborer to an executive the list of things each can reasonably be expected to preform is incredibly different, but the executives list will be substantially longer. This emphasizes that the American worker not only works more hours because of the amount of time dedicated to training to work but was not included in your sources analysis and that those hours worked are more productive.

3)The conclusion that getting Americans to work more hours would benefit them cannot be true because that would mean that Americans working more hours would be detrimental to their employers this would easily be countered by numerous methods available to business. A more reasonable counter would be simply to examine a companies net income in comparison to their employed hours and devise a tax code that rewards employers for employing people and penalizes companies that do not employ many people but make huge profits.
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7/23/2015 3:04:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/23/2015 2:20:16 PM, RitrApexPredator wrote:
So first post on this site so take it easy on my grammar.
Anyways after reviewing your post Ive seen 3 premisses first that the American worker works more or less on average than most of the progressive world.

I pointed to an OECD study showing that they work slightly above average. I was refuting a claim made by Bernie Sanders that Americans work *longer* than workers in all other industrialized countries, which is patently false, and which politifact actually rated false [http://www.politifact.com...]. However, that was based on 1997 data. If you look at the recent numbers from the International Labour Office, the US ranks 8th out of 28th or 12th out of 35th via the OECD. I was disputing Bernie's claim, because it's clearly hogwash and an intellectual dishonest misrepresentation.

Second that productivity is directly correlated to hours worked.

There's a correlation, sure, though that correlation isn't based only on hours worked, but also the total labor stock--and lower levels of labor force growth is depressing productivity, which depresses wage gains and subsequently labor supply. It's a continuous loop.

Third the premise that the purpose of Jebs proposal would have a favorable impact.

I wasn't commenting on Jeb's proposal. I was commenting on the sentiment of combating unemployment and underemployment because it would be fundamentally stupid to deny that both of these are a problem. We don't even need to get into average hours worked or talk about lengthening the workday or moving voluntarily part-time employed people to full-time work to acknowledge this as a problem.

1) Having reviewed your source by the wall street journal, simple math tells us that the number 1 ranked country Mexico averages a 6hr day.

Sure. Granted, I think that's a simplistic calculation because it presumes a 7-day workweek and working year-round, but let's take it for what it is. I also fail to see the utility in moving this to a "per day" basis.

This doesn't consider though that cultural situation is very different in Mexico. How many colleges are there? There is a huge student body in America 21 million enrolled every year these people are considered part of the population yet not part of the labor force for 2 -12 years. This also doesn't address quality of work or type of work.

What does this have to do with anything? Of course culture plays a significant role in terms of hours worked, and indeed it's likely the case in Europe as well, where people tend to work a lot less -- and unemployment rates are significantly higher, which is perhaps causally. I'm not suggesting that Americans ought to work at Mexican hours, or even that the trade-off that comes with lower labor force participation versus less education favors the latter; I made a recent post suggesting that investment in education *should* be a far greater concern than it is, so by no means am I suggesting that people should forego that for the sake of working longer hours. I think you're reading into context that just isn't there.

2)The other thing to consider is that their (American) level of training increases their productivity/usefulness.

That sounds fairly straightforward and obvious.

If you compare a day laborer to an executive the list of things each can reasonably be expected to preform is incredibly different, but the executives list will be substantially longer. This emphasizes that the American worker not only works more hours because of the amount of time dedicated to training to work but was not included in your sources analysis and that those hours worked are more productive.

So a few things here..

One, I agree: an executive to-do list is probably a whole lot longer. Two, American workers may be subject to on-the-job training, sure, though I hardly think that's applicable to a broad pool of workers.

But the latter point is just lost on me. Indeed, some of the "hours worked" in the productivity statistics could in fact account for on-the-job training, whereas if he docked that output per hour -- i.e., productivity -- could conceivably be higher, but I highly doubt that's statistically significant. Not to mention, the actual productivity numbers are contingent on training, anyway. I just fail to see how this in any way connects to the OP.

3)The conclusion that getting Americans to work more hours would benefit them cannot be true because that would mean that Americans working more hours would be detrimental to their employers this would easily be countered by numerous methods available to business.

You're beginning this with a strawman. I *did not* suggest that Americans should work longer hours. I'm saying that unemployed people who want to work, people sitting on the sidelines who would work if the economy were to improve, and people who are working part time but want to work full time should be able to find full-time work. You're missing a great deal of context from my opening post, and I really don't appreciate the strawmans -- the very ones I disputed in my OP.

Second, there really isn't any conceivably way that having unemployed or involuntarily part-time employed workers actually put in full-time work would be detrimental to employees. There is no conceivably mechanism by which that would be detrimental to employers, save for diminishing returns, which I've discussed, which is why there's no perfectly linear relationship between hours worked and productivity, as I've been clear about. But given the rank underutilization of labor over the past six years, there's just no warrant for the notion that we've already hit that peak for hours worked.

A more reasonable counter would be simply to examine a companies net income in comparison to their employed hours and devise a tax code that rewards employers for employing people and penalizes companies that do not employ many people but make huge profits.

I think this would be a horrible idea. It completely distorts resource allocation by artificially reducing the relative cost of labor. One of the main reasons businesses can produce things at such a low price is capital-labor substitution -- that and globalization. Not to mention, there would be absolutely nothing stopping corporations from employing a lot of people at low wages. If you want to hit diminishing returns, that's a great means to that end.
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Sooner
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7/23/2015 3:14:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I'm not interested in strawmen or claymen or politician men. They all sit there in Washington making more than they deserve to try and guide situations they know nothing about and care nothing about. If people could take the blinders of being Conservative vs. Liberal off, we could unite and stop them, but people are too busy watching news manipulated by one group or the other. These leaders use Conservative vs. Liberal to enslave minds and use the people like slaves. They don't care about me or you.
Ignoring problems doesn't make them go away.
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7/23/2015 3:16:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/23/2015 3:14:07 PM, Sooner wrote:
I'm not interested in strawmen or claymen or politician men. They all sit there in Washington making more than they deserve to try and guide situations they know nothing about and care nothing about. If people could take the blinders of being Conservative vs. Liberal off, we could unite and stop them, but people are too busy watching news manipulated by one group or the other. These leaders use Conservative vs. Liberal to enslave minds and use the people like slaves. They don't care about me or you.

I agree with this, actually.
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TheConsciousWorld
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7/26/2015 10:08:35 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Working longer hours? Yikes! I don't want it for anyone! Back in the 19th century one did its best to have it reduced to 8 hours a day of work.

We live in a modern world with modern slavery whereas money is the controlling system.

Some chick on youtube raised some interesting questions I find. Simplistically put. I don't have the answers but will think how I will form my opinion on that one

https://www.youtube.com...
RitrApexPredator
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7/26/2015 12:04:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
SO to be clear I agree working longer hours isnt going to help underemployment or unemployment.
I disagree Americans work less than any country other than Japan.
I think laborers need protection especially considering globalization. The issue is implementation a society cannot exist for the sole enrichment of a few but without the promise of enrichment no society would make progress.

Eh not the best at getting my point across sorry for the confusing post on cultural differances. The cultural representation I was using I wanted to show that the statistic doesn't account for cultural differences. It may be accurate on paper but paper doesn't go far in the real world. (Hopefully this is clearer) Ive overseen dozens of foreign workers and to a man they are not as productive as Americans even lazy Americans are usually worth 2 foreigners in ease of management if nothing else. The point is though that while the American took 1.5 hours to do X work a foreigner might take 3 hours to do the same, this should be accounted for and its not easy to see a national average because of varying levels of industrialization and corruption. An example I used recently was, look at was break periods while theoretically a foreign worker might log 40 hours on the clock they will often take extended breaks leave early arrive late, this is a cultural thing and should not be taken personally but it is unerringly true maybe not of all cultures but few are as dedicated to punctuality or hard efficient work as Americans. Our concept of being on time is almost unknown everywhere else.

Second that productivity is directly correlated to hours worked.

There's a correlation, sure, though that correlation isn't based only on hours worked, but also the total labor stock--and lower levels of labor force growth is depressing productivity, which depresses wage gains and subsequently labor supply. It's a continuous loop.

I am not familiar with the term Labor Stock, however my point was that if there is not going to be any attempt to quantify what the standard of an hour's work is then its unfair to make the comparison in the first place. My cultural reference really belonged more in this section. SO the schools example I used and the one you used.

2)The other thing to consider is that their (American) level of training increases their productivity/usefulness.

That sounds fairly straightforward and obvious.

But the latter point is just lost on me. Indeed, some of the "hours worked" in the productivity statistics could in fact account for on-the-job training, whereas if he docked that output per hour -- i.e., productivity -- could conceivably be higher, but I highly doubt that's statistically significant. Not to mention, the actual productivity numbers are contingent on training, anyway. I just fail to see how this in any way connects to the OP.

So the point I wanted to make with regards to schooling is every year we (USA) have 21million enter the student body if each of those students is full time then they "work" 2880hrs (I used a college prep sites figures) per year this is well above the norm for industrial work and 21 million of these workers would shift this balance considerably, I understand the standard used did not account for students and it would apply to all countries equally but how many countries have 21million new students every year. I consider this point valid because the majority of these students are going to college for the express purpose of finding better employment.

A more reasonable counter would be simply to examine a companies net income in comparison to their employed hours and devise a tax code that rewards employers for employing people and penalizes companies that do not employ many people but make huge profits.

I think this would be a horrible idea. It completely distorts resource allocation by artificially reducing the relative cost of labor. One of the main reasons businesses can produce things at such a low price is capital-labor substitution -- that and globalization. Not to mention, there would be absolutely nothing stopping corporations from employing a lot of people at low wages. If you want to hit diminishing returns, that's a great means to that end.

Hum trying to wrap my head around this, Economics is not my strong suit just something I am trying to learn. So I don't see that capital labor substitution is good for the health of the country I also don't see a good alternative we can simply deal with it or address it. If taken to a logical conclusion we will see robots building robots to build robots with few to no human oversight we can see this with regard to recent innovation in car production even remote surgeons the efficiency and productivity of these models leaves labor in the dust the risk is the capital investment but almost all of this capital is subsidized by the Govt in the first place so the People provide the capital to finance themselves out of future employment.

If we don't protect labor the only other option is direct taxation and that doesn't address unemployment at all.
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7/26/2015 12:07:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/26/2015 10:08:35 AM, TheConsciousWorld wrote:
Working longer hours? Yikes! I don't want it for anyone! Back in the 19th century one did its best to have it reduced to 8 hours a day of work.

The whole point of the post was that this was *not what Jeb Bush was taking about.* The entire premise was a compete strawman, but it seems to me that, like so many others, you've only read the title and decided to comment, rather than reading through the lengthy post I took the time to write out, which thoroughly debunks the media narrative.

We live in a modern world with modern slavery whereas money is the controlling system.

To call it modern slavery is a bit much, but I agree that money -- indeed, corporate money -- is the driving force behind politics.

Some chick on youtube raised some interesting questions I find. Simplistically put. I don't have the answers but will think how I will form my opinion on that one

https://www.youtube.com...

I don't know who she is, but I'd much rather focus on the substance of the topic at hand, since the topic of money isn't being disputed in this thread, nor is it in any way related to Jeb's comments -- that were, again, thoroughly taken out of context.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

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ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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7/26/2015 12:25:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/26/2015 12:04:35 PM, RitrApexPredator wrote:
SO to be clear I agree working longer hours isnt going to help underemployment or unemployment.

Then we disagree. Working longer hours is physically *the end* of underemployment or unemployment, or at least that end in itself. When it comes to people who are marginally attached or involuntarily part-time or, even, looking for work but unable to find a job, "working longer hours" is physically reducing underemployment and unemployment.

I disagree Americans work less than any country other than Japan.

I never said this -- I provided OECD statistics in the first post. They work slightly more than average. I was only disputing the claim that thy work "more than any other industrialized country." That was an intellectually dishonest remark made by Bernie Sanders, though it relied on 1997 data. The most recent data says otherwise.

I think laborers need protection especially considering globalization. The issue is implementation a society cannot exist for the sole enrichment of a few but without the promise of enrichment no society would make progress.

Nothing in my post in any way, shape, or form contradicted this, and this is completely ancillary to the topic at hand.

Eh not the best at getting my point across sorry for the confusing post on cultural differances. The cultural representation I was using I wanted to show that the statistic doesn't account for cultural differences.

It couldn't possibly account for cultural differences; that's not the purpose of the statistic. The purpose was to show, physically, how long people work in a given a year, without account for why that might be. There are moral arguments to be made for why a number is higher or lower, and I never once opined on what that number ought to be -- though I do think it should be higher, accounting for marginally attached and involuntary part-timers -- but culture is completely tangential to this discussion. I never asked "why" there are cross-country deviations, and frankly it's not my concern.

It may be accurate on paper but paper doesn't go far in the real world.

And that extra "real world" step is... what? Americans are more into education, so they work less? Sure, that's a positive development I could endorse, but the objective ramifications to trend growth, at least in here and now, are unquestionable.

(Hopefully this is clearer) Ive overseen dozens of foreign workers and to a man they are not as productive as Americans even lazy Americans are usually worth 2 foreigners in ease of management if nothing else. The point is though that while the American took 1.5 hours to do X work a foreigner might take 3 hours to do the same, this should be accounted for and its not easy to see a national average because of varying levels of industrialization and corruption. An example I used recently was, look at was break periods while theoretically a foreign worker might log 40 hours on the clock they will often take extended breaks leave early arrive late, this is a cultural thing and should not be taken personally but it is unerringly true maybe not of all cultures but few are as dedicated to punctuality or hard efficient work as Americans. Our concept of being on time is almost unknown everywhere else.

This is really just anecdotal evidence, and with all due respect to you, not something I'm willing to place a great dal of stock in, irrespective of the fact that cross-country deviations in productivity might to some extent be endogenously determined by culture, though I'm more inclined to think they're determined by government policy, education, infrastructure, political corruption, the degree to which countries endorse economic freedom, etc. I think all of those factors are significantly more important than culture.

I am not familiar with the term Labor Stock, however my point was that if there is not going to be any attempt to quantify what the standard of an hour's work is then its unfair to make the comparison in the first place. My cultural reference really belonged more in this section. SO the schools example I used and the one you used.

I think the comparison is completely fair, in spite of the fact that an hour worked in the US is unquestionably more productive than an hour worked in, say, Greece or Spain. The reason is that productivity in the US, by virtue of a number factors -- including the size of the labor stock, which is a fancy way to say available workers -- is higher than in Greece or Spain, and a lot of that is due to the fact that Americans tend to work more. More workforce participation means more capital deepening, such that TFP rises, and so forth. That's not an unfair comparison -- we can physically pair the numbers up and readily explain cross-country deviations due to inherently endogenous factors.

So the point I wanted to make with regards to schooling is every year we (USA) have 21million enter the student body if each of those students is full time then they "work" 2880hrs (I used a college prep sites figures) per year this is well above the norm for industrial work and 21 million of these workers would shift this balance considerably, I understand the standard used did not account for students and it would apply to all countries equally but how many countries have 21million new students every year. I consider this point valid because the majority of these students are going to college for the express purpose of finding better employment.

Sure, so they apply upward pressure on future levels of productivity. What exactly is the point here? The U.S. is also a lot bigger than other countries, so comparing the sheer size in the way you are is an unfair comparison, since what we really care about is living standards -- or GDP per capita.

Hum trying to wrap my head around this, Economics is not my strong suit just something I am trying to learn. So I don't see that capital labor substitution is good for the health of the country

I mean, that's pretty basic economics (unless you're Obama, and think technological advancements kill jobs). The ability to substitute capital and labor holds down production costs, and thus prices people pay for consumer goods -- and that's part and parcel of the reason that iphones, much of the production of which is outsourced, are so cheap. It might hurt workers in the short run, but over time it's a boon to productive capacity and thus to wages.

I also don't see a good alternative we can simply deal with it or address it. If taken to a logical conclusion we will see robots building robots to build robots with few to no human oversight we can see this with regard to recent innovation in car production even remote surgeons the efficiency and productivity of these models leaves labor in the dust the risk is the capital investment but almost all of this capital is subsidized by the Govt in the first place so the People provide the capital to finance themselves out of future employment.

The idea of robots taking over is, while I think somewhat asinine, actually a genuine concern with respect to whether we can overshoot the mark in terms of technological advancements. I'm not overly convinced that we could physically crowd out labor in perpetuity, because the economy is constantly evolving and I don't think we're in a position to properly guess what jobs will be available long into the future; with that uncertainty in mind, I don't think it would be morally right, or even good economics, to actively suppress innovation out of fear of the unknown.

If we don't protect labor the only other option is direct taxation and that doesn't address unemployment at all.

Protect labor how? We do have protections for labor. Is suppressing capital investment "helping labor?" That's not what I would have in mind.

We do have direct taxation, which at least *indirectly* address unemployment, albeit inefficiently.
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RitrApexPredator
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7/26/2015 12:35:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Obviously I still have much to learn and yes I am terrible at economics, but I disagree with you on some core issues. I thank you for your responses anyways hopefully I will be better able to articulate what I mean in the future or perhaps revise my opinions.
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7/28/2015 5:54:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/20/2015 2:12:39 AM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
That's why I hate the Leftist media. They like to twist and distort the truth. Damn Pinkos.
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ResponsiblyIrresponsible
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7/28/2015 6:18:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/28/2015 5:54:10 PM, lannan13 wrote:
At 7/20/2015 2:12:39 AM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
That's why I hate the Leftist media. They like to twist and distort the truth. Damn Pinkos.

The right-wing media is a whole lot worse. The left-wing media does crap like this, whereby they twist someone's words to suit an agenda; Fox and right-wing talk radio actually make things up: death panels, Obama's "vacations," Benghazi as the worst scandal ever, the so-called "IRS scandal," etc.

Granted, I might be giving MSNBC too much credit. They probably don't understand the distinction, and those that do probably think the "real unemployment" rate is 10 percent. As someone who actually understands and writes about this crap, it's unbelievably unnerving.
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firewalker
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8/1/2015 2:52:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/20/2015 2:10:41 AM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
The media frenzy over Jeb Bush's comments regarding Americans "working longer hours" is, while not astonishing, greatly disheartening because the attacks are at their core intellectually dishonest -- or, insofar as they are honest, they're egregiously ignorant and misplaced.

Here's what Jeb Bush was referring to when he said that Americans need to "work longer hours":

(a) involuntarily part-time employed workers
(b) marginally attached workers sitting on the sidelines and not currently looking for a job.

You could add a (c), which would be voluntarily part-time workers, which may have resulted from the reduction in labor supply resulting from the ACA [http://www.cbo.gov...]: i.e., delinking health insurance from place of employment induced some people to cut back their hours. Heck, we can even add (d), which could simply apply to remaining labor-market slack, broadly speaking -- marginally attached or otherwise. NAIRU estimates are roughly 5 percent [https://www.chicagofed.org...], so though we're making progress toward full employment, there are plenty of workers who, still, could "work longer hours."

You can make a moral case for this, of course, but the trade-off, with all three of these segments of potential full-time workers, is that a smaller labor stock means (a) lower productivity and (b) lower trend growth. We're used to, for instance, 3 percent real GDP growth. Now, we're looking at a new trend line of a little more than 2 percent [http://www.federalreserve.gov...]. We know that a significant portion of the decline in labor force participation, as well as the rise in involuntarily part-time employed workers and the fall in productivity, is cyclical. Bush's plan is simply to reverse course on this precarious trend, and for good reason. Lower trend RGDP growth means that current anemic growth and stagnant wages are a "new normal." Surely, no one desires that, nor is it efficient.

But the attacks from Democratic candidates are also totally off the mark. Again, you can make a moral case that workers shouldn't work longer hours. However, when Bernie Sanders charges that Americans work "the longest hours in the Western industrialized world," he's flat-out wrong [http://blogs.wsj.com...]. In fact, we're just above the average of OECD countries [https://data.oecd.org...]. Whether that's a positive or negative is, again, largely a moral question, but let's not taint a serious policy issue with demagoguery.

Then, cue Hillary Clinton with that silly graph from the Economic Policy Institute suggesting that, for the past thirty hours, wages have lagged productivity growth -- roughly flat in real terms in spite of productivity doubling. That sounds positively outrageous. Too bad -- or, in fact, thankfully -- it's horsepucky.

First, right off the bat, if we look at real compensation in lieu of real wages, we see a significant bifurcation in the graph. Even if it were true that wages themselves were flat, hourly compensation has risen appreciably.

Second, real "wages" is an incomplete measure because it ignores not only benefits, but also salaried workers.

Third, the "real" wage measure normalizes by the CPI. This is to say that the Consumer Price Index constructed by the BLS is used to deflate the numbers. However, this is a flawed metric which tends to overstate inflation. Relative to the PCE Index, the CPI tends to run 30 to 50 basis points higher due to quality bias, lower-frequency adjustments to the market basket, and the inability to account for the substitution effect. If we use the PCE or the GDP Deflator, again, there's a massive shift in the graph.

Fourth, there are a number of technical issues with computing actual productivity. In fact, many of those issues may be working in reverse now -- with Silicon Valley economists questioning whether there even *is* a productivity slowdown [http://www.wsj.com...]. The issues are somewhat complex, but it's likely that the remainder of the gap is roughly closed by simple measurement problems.

[http://www.economics21.org...]

Case in point: stop making silly arguments. Focus on the *substance* of what Jeb Bush will offer. No one disagrees -- or should disagree -- that there are unemployed and underemployed workers. Insofar as you accept that premise, you agree with Jeb. The central question is *how* he intends to boost trend RGDP growth, or even whether 4 percent is even plausible, which is something I even question.

I live in the Silicon Valley and I'm witnessing the fast growth, which is something I experienced in the late 1980's, 1990's, 2000's and again now.

With this growth, the majority of the people are still not seeing their incomes growing at the same rate, particularly those who have part time jobs. There are many more part time workers now than ever before, especially in the service, food and medical industries who are continually cutting costs in order to compete with other companies. This is causing a huge disparity of income between the full time workers who generally have much higher wages and the part time workers.

Many of these part time workers are not able to have other part time jobs because of rotating shifts. I have met several people who actually lost hours because their companies were avoiding the changes in the medical insurance laws. By cutting their hours, they don't have to pay for the insurance needs of these part time workers.

Those who don't have jobs have various problems such as drug and alcoholic addictions or poor work histories which keep them unemployable. There are many more people out of work here in Silicon Valley than when I first moved here in 1986.

The main problem that people face here is the fast growth of living expenses mainly in the form of rent and high mortgage payments. I have seen many places double in rent since four years ago.

Jeb Bush will have to solve the disparity problem between those who have full time work with good wages who can afford the higher rents or buy homes and those part time workers who have two or more part time jobs with little pay. He will also need to find work for those who can't pass drug tests and end up on welfare. These problems have to be worked out before Jeb Bush ever sees 4 % GRDP growth.

Because of my experience with the last three recessions here in Silicon Valley, there is no doubt that this fast growth economy will come to an end again soon. Most people still haven't figured out that fear is the main reason for the economic changes we all experience in this world.
bballcrook21
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8/7/2015 9:59:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I would discount the idea of working longer hours and feature the idea of working efficiently.

We need a skilled and educated work force, that can work well in their current job and not waste an exorbitant amount of time.

The United States has an average (weekly work hours) of 34.4 hours. Nations such as Germany and France have significantly lower work hours. If we just educated our work force, or at least created motive and incentive to do so themselves, then we could fix our issue.

I do agree, however, that we need people to be fully employed, rather then be employed part time. Part time employment is prevalent in areas with high minimum wage, and most part time employees happen to be college students. If we decreased minimum wage, or abolished it altogether(I have a debate on that, so you can look at it on my profile), then we would create more jobs, thus making full time work rather then part time employment.
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. - Friedman

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. -Friedman

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. - Friedman

Society will never be free until the last Democrat is strangled with the entrails of the last Communist.
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8/7/2015 10:08:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/7/2015 9:59:45 PM, bballcrook21 wrote:
I would discount the idea of working longer hours and feature the idea of working efficiently.

First, Bush didn't recommend "working longer hours." The comment was not what it was portrayed to be in the media. I really wish people would actually read the OP before replying.

Second, the whole point of Bush wanting to increase labor force participation and cut down on marginally attached was to boost productivity, so he's in the same camp.

We need a skilled and educated work force, that can work well in their current job and not waste an exorbitant amount of time.

I agree.

The United States has an average (weekly work hours) of 34.4 hours. Nations such as Germany and France have significantly lower work hours. If we just educated our work force, or at least created motive and incentive to do so themselves, then we could fix our issue.

We're not much higher than the OECD average, but sure, that's a solution, though it's much more complex than you're letting on.

I do agree, however, that we need people to be fully employed, rather then be employed part time. Part time employment is prevalent in areas with high minimum wage, and most part time employees happen to be college students.

I don't think either of these are true. Part-time workers still are subject to MW laws, and many are involuntarily part-time employed. I haven't seen the numbers, but I think it's a complete canard to say most are part-time, in much the same way that the argument that most MW workers are teenagers is a canard.

If we decreased minimum wage, or abolished it altogether(I have a debate on that, so you can look at it on my profile), then we would create more jobs, thus making full time work rather then part time employment.

I don't support the MW; I've made several posts on that and in fact my "advice to Jeb Bush" thread features a suggestion to abolish it. But it's not a silver bullet, nor would it have any material impact on part-time versus full time employment.
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bballcrook21
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8/7/2015 10:12:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I do agree upon abolishing the minimum wage. To me, in a sense, abolishing it would seem idealistic. Until we fix our education system, we will not create a good work force. Increasing minimum wage destroys the actual intention as to why it was administered in the first place.

If I was in office, I would not remove minimum wage, but I would never raise it either. I would keep it at the national average, or maybe even lower it by a small sum. It is unrealistic to remove it completely. (I am not stating that I would not like to see it removed, as I do not intend to work a minimum wage job, therefore it will have minimal affect on me).

Nonetheless, I agree fully.
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. - Friedman

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. -Friedman

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. - Friedman

Society will never be free until the last Democrat is strangled with the entrails of the last Communist.