Patterico's Pontifications


Bernie Sanders Latest Proposal: 4-day Workweek With No Loss Of Pay For Workers

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

About the bill:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., held a hearing Thursday on a bill he introduced to reduce the standard U.S. workweek to four days without loss of pay.

The bill, titled the “Thirty-Two Hour Work Week Act,” would reduce the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours over the span of four years, including lowering the maximum hours required for overtime compensation for nonexempt employees. It would also require overtime pay at time and a half for workdays that last more than eight hours and overtime pay that would pay workers double their regular pay if their workday is longer than 12 hours.

Sanders on the details:

“Moving to a 32-hour workweek with no loss of pay is not a radical idea,” Sanders said in a statement. “Today, American workers are over 400 percent more productive than they were in the 1940s. And yet, millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages than they were decades ago. That has got to change.”

“The financial gains from the major advancements in artificial intelligence, automation and new technology must benefit the working class, not just corporate CEOs and wealthy stockholders on Wall Street,” he said. “It is time to reduce the stress level in our country and allow Americans to enjoy a better quality of life. It is time for a 32-hour workweek with no loss in pay.”

Of course the obvious question is: how will this work? Employees will work 8 hours less per week, yet their pay will remain the same (as if they had worked that extra 8 hours). How will Mom & Pop smaller businesses afford this? If they can’t, the costs will be passed on to customers or a reduction in staffing, whether in a restaurant, shop, retail, or any sort of small business. However, when given an opportunity to explain to the public just how it would work, the multi-millionaire Sanders didn’t appear to want to answer the vexing question and instead played politics:

VAUGHN: It seems like Democrats want businesses to be taxed more, pay their workers —

SANDERS: Really? Is that what you think?

VAUGHN: They pay their workers —

SANDERS: Excuse me! Excuse me!

VAUGHN: I didn’t get to ask my question.

SANDERS: Ok, thank you. You wanna — hold it, Ok. We held a hearing on a 32-hour work week because what we have seen is that over the last 50 years, despite a huge increase in worker productivity, almost all of the wealth has gone to the top 1% while 60% of the people living paycheck to paycheck. Many of our people are exhausted. We work longest hours of any people in the industrialized world. I think it is time for a shortened work week.

VAUGHN: Let me ask you a question about that. Seems like Democrats want businesses to be taxed more, pay their workers more, lower prices, and now pay people not to work.

SANDERS: Really? That’s not my assumption. I don’t think so. You know what Democrats — you know what I would like to see?

VAUGHN: How are businesses going to survive that? That’s the question. How can businesses survive that? How can businesses survive all of those proposals?

SANDERS: When Mr. Bezos pays an effective tax rate lower than the average worker, I think we have a real problem in our tax system. I think that billionaires have got to start paying their fair share of taxes. Thank you.

He then turned around and walked into his office.

What a shame because I think a lot of people like the idea of a 32-hour workweek. A shorter workweek would allow families to spend more time together and employees to have more down time. What’s not to like? However, it has to be workable for all parties involved – including those writing the paychecks.

As a congressman observed:

“In reality, there is no free lunch,” Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said of the proposal.

“Workers will be the ones who would pay — not get paid extra. The government mandating a 32-hour workweek requiring businesses to increase pay at least an extra 25 percent per hour, would frankly destroy some employers.”

…Cassidy said many jobs would be shipped overseas or replaced with automation, or businesses would be incentivized to hire more part-time employees to avoid penalties associated with requirements for full-time workers.

“If this policy is implemented, it would threaten millions of small businesses operating on a razor-thin margin because they’re unable to find enough workers…Now they’ve got the same workers, but only for three-quarters of the time, and they have to hire more.”

The bill summary is here.

The bill is here.


15 Responses to “Bernie Sanders Latest Proposal: 4-day Workweek With No Loss Of Pay For Workers”

  1. Same ‘ol, same ‘ol Bernie.

    Dana (8e902f)

  2. We just got done with the government paying workers about $20/hr — for not working. For many workers this was more than they got while working. Then we saw government force employers (both de jure and de facto) to pay those same workers significantly more when they came back to work. Now they want to impose an additional 25% pay hike while mandating that employers hire more people to do the same work.

    I just cannot wait for that $20 Quarter-pounder™.

    Kevin M (8676e4)

  3. What does Bernie think this country is, France?

    Paul Montagu (778f7d)

  4. We have capitalist wage slaves here.

    asset (650075)

  5. “You load 16 tons and what do you get another day older and deeper in debt!” Tennessee ernie ford. AOC for president.

    asset (650075)

  6. Um. Has Senator Sanders worked at an hourly job? I know he worked a lot of odd jobs early on, so it is possible.

    But he does own three homes. That seems a bit much for a socialist. Just sayin’.

    It would appear to me that Senator Sanders is fine with other people suffering, especially rich people. Except I would gently suggest that he is himself rich.

    I once had a computer science instructor at UCLA during the 70s who was a socialist. He contributed half of his salary to charity, and lived very simply.

    He didn’t own three houses.

    So I took him seriously, even when I disagreed.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  7. The only people who would be paid the same would be people with union or other contracts.

    Otherwise the effect will be that the minimum number of hours considered full time for purposes of health insurance and other benefits will be 32 hours, not 39 or 40, and overtime starts at 32 hours

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  8. asset- the final line in the chorus of that song was about owing ones soul to the company store.

    The “deeper in debt” that happened every day was due to the prices for staples at the company store. The “company store” of today is the government. Why does electricity cost 275% more in California than in Arizona? The company store mark up. Why does gasoline cost $3.15 today in Arizona but $4.93 a gallon in California? The company store mark up.

    Grocery costs? The consumer absorbs the following company store mark ups

    Farmer pays a carbon tax
    Truck to processor pays a carbon tax
    Processor pays a carbon tax
    Truck from processor to grocery store pays a carbon tax
    Grocery store pays a carbon tax
    Citizen consumer buys groceries and absorbs the above

    steveg (770331)

  9. Bernie’s a true believer. Ideology over reason. He’s the answer to the question, “how can an intelligent person also be functional idiot?”

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  10. Intelligence is either incomplete or malfunctioning. Neural pathway meanders are well beyond intelligence specifications

    steveg (770331)

  11. Marxism is one of those lies that only an intelligent person can believe.

    Kevin M (8676e4)

  12. @11 If capitalism is so great why are the jails full of wood be capitalists? Saying its better then marxism is a very low bar. Thatcher saying that socialism only works until it runs out of other peoples money forgot to add that capitalism only works as long as the army and police can control the masses or until the social welfare state is instituted large enough to stop the riots. Read the social history of the machine gun. The social welfare states stops capitalists from being brought to justice which both the trump populists and the squad would do if given a chance.

    asset (3d53e6)

  13. “ The “company store” of today is the government.”

    – steveg

    Really? Not the actual companies that run the actual stores?

    Leviticus (02b5b2)

  14. I think I showed enough for you to understand me even if you can pick at the numbers but I’ll give more. Grocery stores have profit margins in the very low single digits, and the video I linked speaks for itself on mark ups
    Here is another number to think about on gasoline- the larger government (CA in particular) makes more money on a gallon of gas than Exxon does even granting that the entire $1.78 a gallon difference between AZ and CA does not go to government
    Another. The profits made by public utilities are regulated

    Government tells the fuel and energy stores what they can sell (types of fuel and sources of energy that are more expensive to produce)

    Energy and food are basic consumer items that citizens cannot live without- staples if you would

    steveg (df9fdc)

  15. The government also controls what type of energy is sold. In CA you have to buy the CA gasoline blend. Same goes for electricity- the “blend” is the source of the power. If the government offered choices at their highly regulated stores, I’d buy the gas blend Arizonans have and my electricity from a nuclear power plant.

    In CA you can opt to pay more for “green electricity” and those that do often get electricity that is 100% generated by natural gas. A 100% private entity would be hauled into consumer court and flogged like a pinata until $100’s of millions fell out of their pockets.

    steveg (df9fdc)

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