Jeb Bush, Americans Already Work Longer Hours. See These Charts.

We made it simple for the leading GOP candidate.

Jim Cole/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


In one of the most Mitt-esque comments of the 2016 campaign (so far), Jeb Bush, a man who made millions through family and political connections, said on Wednesday that “people should work longer hours” in order to expand the US economy. Really? Stressed-out Americans, some juggling more than one job, ought to spend more time toiling at work? Bush was practically saying that 47 percent of Americans don’t take enough responsibility for the economic good of the nation.

Naturally, Dems and others pounced on this very 1-percent-ish remark. And Team Jeb—or as he might put it, Team Jeb!—rushed to the fire with pails of cold water, claiming that Bush had been talking only about underemployed part-time workers. One problem: in his original comment, Bush did not indicate he was only referring to part-timers who crave more hours. Oops.

Americans who do work are hardly lazing about. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, Americans employed full-time worked an average of 47 hours a week. Almost half worked over 50 hours a week. In fact, American workers spend more hours on the job than those in other large, industrialized nations, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

So telling them to work more is quite Romney-like. Maybe they should eat cake, too.

A few years ago, Mother Jones did a special report on the “Great Speedup”—the phenomenon in which greater productivity (some of it based on Americans working longer hours) yields higher corporate profits but not higher wages. The article included several charts highlighting the overworking of Americans. For Jeb Bush’s benefit, here are three of the most relevant:

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate