Jeb Bush Has No Clue About Overtime Abuse

my-own-man-part3For all those prospective voters out there that think Jeb Bush is “the smarter Bush brother”, I have sad news for you…he’s an idiot too. The latest proof is Bush’s claim that Barack Obama’s proposal to expand overtime pay to millions more managers and white-collar workers would result in “less overtime pay” and “less wages earned”.

How many Republicans can possibly defy all reason and believe this horseshit? At least Jeb’s brother George was just a mentally pliable idiot for Dick Cheney to “sock-puppet” whatever evil scheme Cheney could cook up; Jeb probably knows better but just doesn’t give a rat shit. I guess we’ll see.

Numerous economists, of course, attacked Jeb Bush’s statement, calling him “woefully misinformed”…. I think it’s more like “intentionally misinformed”. Several studies on the rule contradict Jeb Bush’s assertion that the overtime rules would “lessen the number of people working” and go on to reason that the opposite would actually happen, and contrary to the way Republicans make statements, go on the back up what they say with data and logic to back it up.

Daniel Hamermesh, a University of Texas labor economist, said: “He’s just 100% wrong,” adding that “there will be more overtime pay and more total earnings” and “there’s a huge amount of evidence employers will use more workers”.

Indeed, even a stalwart conservative investment firm , Goldman Sachs, released a study that estimated that employers would hire 120,000 more workers in response to Obama’s overtime changes. And a similar study commissioned by the National Retail Federation – a fierce opponent of the proposed overtime rules – estimated that as a result of the new salary threshold, employers in the restaurant and retail industries would hire 117,500 new part-time workers.

Jeb Bush, in a series of recent remarks, criticized Obama’s proposed overtime rules, which would extend overtime coverage to managers earning below $50,440 a year. Under current rules, employers can deny overtime pay to “exempt” salaried managers earning more than $23,660 a year. This meant that a $25,000-a-year fast-food assistant manager working 60 hours a week might not receive any overtime pay. (US law generally requires time-and-a-half pay for all hours worked above 40 per week.)

“It’s this prescribed top-down approach that is the wrong approach,” Bush said. “The net effects of the overtime rule will be, if history is any guide, there will be less overtime paid, less wages earned.”

Ah, the obsequious,”if history is any guide”. A sure-fire red flag that there is no factual data to back the claim.

Jared Bernstein, a senior economist with the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said employers might reduce the number of hours many managers work to minimize or avoid any overtime pay. That certainly makes more logical sense than Bush’s ridiculous, unsupported conclusion.

“If employers want to avoid overtime pay, they hire more workers on straight time and that creates new jobs,” Bernstein said. “Even staunch opponents agree with that and disagree with Mr Bush.”

In his Iowa remarks, Jeb Bush said the new rules would prohibit many bonuses. “If you want to give a bonus to a manager in your store or in your company, instead of requiring higher pay, this law won’t allow it,” he said. Of that is simply more bullshit from a politician that either knows nothing of economics, or worse, chooses to lie about it for political motives.

Ross Eisenbrey, a vice-president of the Economic Policy Institute, said: “Bush should be embarrassed about how misinformed he is.” Eisenbrey said the proposed rules do nothing whatsoever to bar employers from paying bonuses. “All of that is exactly wrong – and pretty much nonsense,” he said. Of course this is not the first, nor probably the last time Jeb Bush stumbled into hot water when it comes to the American worker. His comment last week, when he said American workers “need to work longer hours” to earn more was widely attacked by those pointing out that low-wage earners already work quite a bit, Bush insisted he was referring to part-time workers only. And many economists have said his statement that he could achieve 4% annual economic growth by increasing hours worked is pie in the sky, a polite way to say it’s smelly horse dung.

According to the Labor Department, the new rules would expand overtime pay to 5 million additional workers and increase pay nationwide by at least $1.5bn a year. Now that equates to an exponential increase in discretionary income that is necessary to instill confidence in individuals’ to consume more goods and services….the one and the only true path to an increase in demand which dominoes into more jobs, more taxes paid in to the government, less unemployment insurance paid out, and more business-related GDP stimulus.

Of course the expected retort came from some conservative economists that the changes will result in no overall increase in earnings. They say companies would cut the salaries of exempt managers so that with their new overtime pay factored in, their compensation would remain unchanged.

Bernstein acknowledged that employers might reduce the base pay of some managers. But he added: “It’s wholly unrealistic to think companies will go to 5 million managers and say ‘We’re cutting your pay.’

“There will definitely be more wages earned,” he continued, “some by incumbent workers and some by new workers who will be working straight time.”

Economists agree that many managers will be assigned less overtime because companies dislike paying time-and-a-half. The result: many managers will have more leisure time. Is that really such a bad thing in a country where millions of vacation hours go unused, which causes more stress and less productivity….not to mention bad decisions….than any other country in the civilized world.

Michael Strain, a labor economist at the right-of-center American Enterprise Institute, sympathized with Jeb Bush’s sentiments on the overtime rule. “In general what he seems to be saying is that this will place restrictions on firms, how they operate and how they structure their compensation packages,” he said. “In some cases the impact will be positive, and in some cases, negative.” Wow, way to hedge your bets Mr. Strain.

Strain acknowledged that the proposed changes could result in more employment – fast-food managers might have their hours cut to 40 a week from 60, and additional workers might be hired for 20 hours a week to handle some of their responsibilities.

And that logic does not simply end with fast food managers for pete’s sake. It applies to any salary-earner who has to work 60 hours for 40 hours pay, which benefits only one subset of a subset of the American working public…the for-profit medical profession who has to treat these unfortunate souls who are overworked, underpaid, and over-stressed until they stroke out or flip out for the benefit of some corporate fat cats trucking around the golf course at 4:00 pm while their salaried workers guzzle coffee and Prozac.

Please, no more “Bush compassionate conservatism” for me thank you very much. The country could not withstand another bullshit Bush presidency.

Harvey A. Gold