Monday, January 13, 2014

Workin' on a chain gang....

I'm sorry, I don't know which of her three guests said it, but on Diane Rehm's show this morning, discussing unemployment insurance, a caller phoned in to say productivity is up in America, but the work week is stuck at 40 hours, and why don't we lower the work week to allow more workers to have jobs?  It occurred to me that productivity is up because unemployment is up (that's true for many jobs I know; fewer people doing more work for, essentially, less money, because salaries don't go up as your produce more or put in more hours), but one of Ms. Rehm's guests explained it for me.  It seems people like working long hours so they can buy things they like with all the money they earn from working harder and longer, things like housing and food and clothes (I guess).  Too bad I couldn't send this in to the show's e-mail (I saw it too late):

The measure’s authors, Sen. Glenn Grothman of West Bend and Mark Born of Beaver Dam, say the bill brings Wisconsin in line with federal law, gives workers a way to make extra money and employers a way to boost production. But Democrats and labor leaders insisted bosses would use the bill to force their employees to work longer and effectively erase the weekend.
Well, you know, why shouldn't they give up weekends if it means more $$$$.  Or even if it means any $$$ at all, like work 7 days a week or take a hike, Bub!  I mean, the guest on Ms. Rehm's show could have been Mark Born of Beaver Dam, WI (except Mr. Born would NEVER be invited to talk on an NPR radio show like Ms. Rehm's).  You see, since federal law doesn't limit how many days you work, so long as overtime and minimum wage laws are met:

“Here’s an opportunity for folks to work together to get things done in a positive way for the employer and the employee,” Born said. “It just seems like a win all the way around.”
And even if minimum wage does go up (fat chance!), employers can still save money by working employees 7 days a week and getting even more production out of even fewer people!  Maybe we could go back to candles, too, and servants to polish all that silver, and people to dip all those candles.  More work for everybody!*

*except, of course, landed gentry, dowager countesses, Wall Street-types, and politicians; oh, and pundits who bloviate on radio shows.

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