Spain has a 32 hour work week. We can do better.
One of the many strange things “practiced” during the pandemic was not working. The government ordered people not to. Businesses were closed – not by their owners. Many never opened again. Workers were arbitrarily declared to be “non-essential” by government bureaucrats and politicians, who considered themselves very essential.
The problem, though, was that people who weren’t working, weren’t earning. This meant they weren’t paying – rent, mortgage, etc. Solution for the future?
Pay people not to work.
Many of them still aren’t – because it pays more not to.
At one point, the weekly take-home pay for staying home was as high as $1,000 – quite stimulating for workers who weren’t earning as much as that when they were working.
Now California wants to make this “emergency measure” permanent – by paying people to work a four-day week rather than the usual five.
AB2932 would “change the definition of a workweek from the current 40 hours to 32 hours for companies with more than 500 employees and require overtime pay for making workers work longer than four full days a week.”
Ten guesses as to who ends up paying for that.
First, of course, the employers. They will have to hire more part-time workers to fill the gap left by those not working and raise prices to cover their losses, i.e., the money they’re having to pay the additional workers. And to make up for the money that would have been earned making things or providing services which aren’t being made or provided one less day per week.
Scarcity always drives up costs, whether it’s goods or labor. But like the doubling of gas prices, this is a man-made variety of artificially created scarcity. One imposed – if it becomes law – by the California legislature.
Ironically, the costs will be born by those who supposedly benefit – i.e., those paid not to work, as so many have been during the pandemic. They have more time on their hands, certainly. But their money won’t buy as much because it’s worth less.
This is inflation – now officially conceded to be at least 8.5 percent and actually considerably higher than that, if measured by the previous method of measuring it used back in the ‘70s – when it was well into the double digits. But that was back in the days when one could generally trust in the truthfulness of government statistics.
“Inflation” is better stated as devaluation. And the usual way money is devalued is by printing – and issuing – more of it. The increased money supply then chases fewer goods and services, as these (unlike freshly printed dollars) cannot be summoned into existence by the stroke of a politician’s pen.
When money buys less, everything costs more – from gas to rent to food. But at least people won’t be working as much to pay for it all.
Some see this as an incremental prelude or test run for universal basic income (UBI). Lure people with the idea of free money to make them dependent upon government money. When you haven’t earned your living, your living depends upon the sufferance of those who dole it out. Who have the power to not dole it out, if you aren’t obedient.
Yet another cost.
California Democrat Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who co-introduced AB2932, says that the proposed less-work (for more pay) fatwa will “make it easier for women to rejoin the workforce after taking a hiatus to raise children.”
What’s more likely to take a hiatus are the jobs, period – as employers decide to leave California for states where it’s still legal for employees to put in a five-day workweek and people aren’t expected to get paid for not working one day out of each week.
Elon Musk’s Tesla operation has already done just that – though for prior reasons that made getting a day’s work done in California all-but-impossible. He built a plant in next-door Nevada as a way to get back to work when California outlawed working, period – for the “nonessential” – during the pandemic.
Podcaster Joe Rogan moved his business to Texas – to get away from the oppressive taxation that punished him for working.
The exodus of work from the land of the Woke has a historic parallel. The old Soviet Union. where it was cynically said:
They pretend to pay us – and we pretend to work.
Nicholas Bloom, a professor at Stanford University, told the San Francisco Chronicle that if the state legislature goes through with this business, ” . . .business will reduce employment through hiring freezes and layoffs and slash pay by cancelling the next five years of pay increases.”
Because someone’s got to pay for all this not-working.
Democrats think they can buy more votes this way but in the end, it will leave everyone paying more – for everything.
A.J. Rice is author of the book, The Woking Dead: How Society’s Vogue Virus Destroys Our Culture. He serves as CEO of Publius PR, a premier communications
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