Over the last 6 or so years, we have been plagued with unemployment. Counting those who have dropped out of the work force and those on unemployment insurance, we have around 100 million people not working. Think of that number, 100 million people without jobs. Of course, many of those don’t want to work but a great number do. So how do we fix it?
We must cut the workweek to less than 40 hours. Some will say don’t cut my pay, some will say business can’t work that way. To those I say, think about it, what do we spend our extra money on, fancy things and more gadgets. Would not more time off be worth something? Think about the possibilities, more time to enjoy life, more time to pursue things you enjoy doing.
The 40-hour workweek was established over 100 years ago. We have increased productivity many times over those years but do people have more time off? No, that increase has gone into higher profits and more pay for those that are employed. What if we took some of that increase in productivity and invested it in the quality of our lives instead of more flashy things?
Bigger and more expensive cars, bigger homes (how big do we really need)? Shopping at ‘Better stores”, Upscale everything. Would you trade some of that for more time off? Time to enjoy your families, time to enjoy your passions, time to enjoy your friends. Wouldn’t that be worth a few dollars?
Today we hear of welfare recipients getting the equivalent of about $40 to $50 thousand per year. Where does that come from, our paychecks through taxes. What if we diverted some that money to employers so they could hire people to fill in for us as we take more time off? Our taxes would go down so our take home pay would stay about the same and the employer gets a tax credit so he or she can pay our fill-ins. Government losses some income but costs go down do to less welfare expenses.
It has been said that work expands to fill the time allotted. How true that is especially in white-collar jobs. If you ever had that type of job you know that things can get done a lot faster if really necessary. Some jobs are just to fill the around the clock operation so those should be easy to reduce hours. However, many jobs are hard work so there is no spare time. These too can fit in because most of the money to hire fill-in workers come from a cut in current workers taxes.
This will take a little ingenuity and time to figure out, but let’s take so time to consider it. More people working, more time off and a higher quality of life. Those that want to put in more hours because their job is their life could do so if the employer wanted to pay overtime but wouldn’t get the extra tax benefits. Of course real entrepreneurs in pursuit of their dream would invest a lot more hours but that what they want to do and no one can replace them. Most salaried people could be exempt at first and could gradually transition. We could start at 2 hours per week lowering to 38 hours and working out the details. Then lowing to 36 and maybe ultimately to 32 hours. What could we do with an extra day every week in our working life to do what we want?