Weekends By Bernie

I love my weekends, which is saying something, because I love my work.

There’s something about weekends though: I sleep better, the coffee tastes better, and I catch up on the things that (also) bring me joy. So, why not have more weekend?

Senator Bernie Sanders, who is literally the last man in America you want tinkering with capitalism, is proposing a 4-day, 32 hour week, mandated by law. At the risk of arguing the unpopular position, no, you don’t want this, none of us do.

In theory, a 4-day workweek in which the same productive hours were worked would be one thing. Get five days of work done in 4 days and lock the doors. It might work in some sectors of the economy, but in any business model where time and chouce are critical, like restaurants, or radio stations, it wouldn’t. Customers will still want services anytime. You can’t have Friday night dinner on Wednesday.

Anyway, that’s not what weekends by Bernie would look like. Companies scheduling workdays of greater than eight hours would play time and a half for the whole day, not just the extra hours. Go over 12 hours and you pay workers double time.

Shockingly, companies don’t exist to provide jobs. They exist to provide goods and/or services. Employees, along with equipment, materials, facilities, intellectual and physical property, make that happen. Less labor means less output and/or higher labor costs…increasing the prices that we all pay.

People like Bernie Sanders don’t care about that because they don’t have to. You and I do.

Sanders claims progress with AI means greater productivity with less human effort. Rather than a defense of his plan, it’s a fault. If AI can do your job, why keep you around for even 32 hours? As it is, politicians are trying to curb AI in order to protect voters—ahem, workers—so, this is at a best a contradiction, and at worst, an exaggeration.

No matter what socialists believe, companies exist to make profits by competing, and jobs and workers are a nice side-benefit of that. “Job creation”, a term beloved by pols, is not what any business is in the business of.

Then again, poisonous socialists have always hated the conditions that made America the world-beating machine that it is. They always denigrate work, and independence. They fear individuality, and the incentives it throws off. Shortening and shortening the workweek isn’t an act of kindness, but a death march to dull, drab sameness and compliance with the State. It gets them what they want.

It is, however, neither what we can afford, or want.

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