Friday, April 15, 2022


There is a bill pending in the California legislature, and one like it at the federal level, which would mandate that all companies with 500 or more employees adopt a 32-hour work week, paying overtime to those who work more than 32 hours in a week.

Politicians refer to it as a “populist” concept, and workers are thrilled at the idea of working fewer days/hours per week. As far as I can tell, economists are silent on the subject so far, but I have gone through all of the economic problems that this country is suffering at the moment, and it seems to me that every one of them would be made significantly worse by this policy.

We have shortages of practically every product one can name, so let’s have workers work fewer hours, make fewer products, and create even more severe shortages. Why does anyone think that this is a good idea?

Perhaps the idea is that more workers will be hired to fill out the work week, but we also have a labor shortage, so how is that going to pan out? We can’t fill the job openings we have, so let’s create more job openings. Really?

Inflation is eating up wage gains, so the pay that workers are receiving is  buying less and less.  So let’s reduce their buying power even further with a reduction of their income due to shorter working hours. Brilliant.

If we increase workers’ hourly pay to offset the reduced hours it would mean increasing the price of the products they are producing. That would make inflation even higher than it is now, and it’s already the worst it has been in four decades. Who thinks that is a good idea?

On the other hand, reducing working class income means less consumer spending, which trashes the economy. We all want to see that happen, right?

This nation has broken out in an epidemic of highly contagious stupidity, which seems to have originated in California and is spreading out of control.

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