WHAT DOES BUSH’S RHETORIC REVEAL ABOUT HIS WORLDVIEW?
Just a quick note on Jeb Bush’s flub about Americans needing to work longer hours. Of course, the very premise is ridiculous, as Mother Jones points out. For the sake of analysis, however let’s take him at his word that he was referring to part time workers who were looking for full time work. That is, after all, a legitimate economic concern.
What I find interesting is what such gaffes reveal about the candidate. After all, though he backtracked on his comment, the context remains consistent with Bush’s most common electoral theme. That is his goal to achieve four percent growth in GDP. Short of some kind of technological innovation the likes of which cannot be predicted, four percent growth will, in fact, require more Americans to work longer hours–and do so more productively. Despite the fact that such growth in contemporary America is almost impossible as it stands, few in the commentariate would deny that his is a lofty and worth while goal.
It is also, from the point of view of working people, totally meaningless. Such a goal reveals more about Bush’s elite worldview than it does any lack of campaign discipline.
Think about it. When was the last time you went to work thinking, ‘Gee, I really need to work harder today if I’m going to do my part in raising the national GDP?’ Come on! Nothing against Gross Domestic Product as a measure, but average people do not think in terms of production. People who actually work for a living–which Jeb has never done–think in terms of wages or remuneration, job quality and security, none of which is part of Jeb Bush’s campaign. Thus the disconnect regardless of his intent.
It is perfectly rational for the elite, mostly the corporate and investment class, to think in terms of production and labor. This is the bread and butter, or should I say poupon, of elite prosperity. As always, on this site we do not deal in conspiracy theories. There is, however a divide between the goals of the elite, centered on productivity, or rather the collective output of others, and working people, whom I like to call the Demos, who are dependent upon the exchange value of their own labor. We can see in Bush’s campaign rhetoric the focus of his agenda. He is a representative of the corporate elite.
Remember, too, an unspoken goal of Bush’s elite constituency–pushing back the Social Security retirement age. When the elite, as represented by Bush et, al, say they want the Demos to work longer, they are not kidding. In the industrial 19th century working people mostly labored until they could not do so any more. Optimally, they died, but if they didn’t, they were someone else’s burden. Today, through programs like Social Security and Medicare, as well as social safety nets, the burden of caring for the unproductive is shared. The elite hate that. It is unprofitable. They will do anything to bring us back to the glory days of the Gilded Age where the Elite could ignore the plight of the Demos and suck as much productivity for a little remuneration as possible.
This is the Bush/conservative agenda.
Always has been. What some call gaffes are better understood as revelations.