Sean Hannity thinks you don’t spend enough of your life at work. In a recent discussion on his radio talk show, he suggested that financially struggling Americans should simply work more. Much more. Like, practically every waking hour of their lives.
That’s disturbed. Americans already have to spend much more of their time at work than their counterparts in economically comparable countries. The United States is the only industrialized nation– and one of the few nations of any kind – whose citizens are not legally guaranteed each paid vacation days.
Most Americans work in non-union jobs where they can be fired without recourse. And in the US — unlike similar countries that have nationalized health insurance systems — losing your job means you and your family members lose their health insurance.
All that is a recipe for many people who stay in jobs they hate, day after day and month after month, without a single crappy week of paid leave. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to have one job with well-defined hours, rather than juggling two or three gig economy crowds.
Unsurprisingly, Americans are far more likely than citizens of other developed countries to report feelings of ‘high stress’. We’re almost working ourselves to death. So why does Sean Hannity, who considers herself a populist, think we need to work even more?
“It’s what I do”
“Maybe instead of a 40-hour work week”, Hannity suggested:“Join the rest of us – work 70, 80, 90 hours. And I know people don’t like to hear that advice, but it’s what I do.”
I checked that claim again, to see how many hours his radio talk show (The Sean Hannity Show) and his Fox News show (hanny) actually runs every week. The radio program lasts three hours in the late afternoon and the TV program is broadcast for a full hour in the evening. Oh, and both shows only run Monday through Thursday.
So that’s 16 hours a week in the air. quite a few The Sean Hannity Show is spent on taking phone calls rather than doing pre-prepared material, but that doesn’t mean both shows don’t take up quite a bit of prep time each week.
I expect the vast majority of pre-production to be done by his staff, but for the sake of convenience let’s pretend Hannity personally does a full hour of prep work for every hour he’s on the air. Even That would only amount to a four-day work week, with a total of 32 hours of work. That’s even better than the 35-hour workweek enjoyed by employees in France.
Hannity’s dystopian vision
So why does Hannity think ordinary Americans should at least work? twice the legally required French working week?
Assuming he doesn’t also drive an Uber on weekends to get by, Hannity’s present tense “that’s what I to do‘ claim is rather dubious. He also said that decades ago, when he worked as a contractor, he tried to stay on the construction site as long as possible. That part is harder to control. Let’s just go ahead and assume he’s telling the truth. The main question is why does he think anyone should? to have to live like that.
“…since there is a legal limit to the number of hours per week you can work for an employer, anyone who takes Sean’s financial advice travels not only from home to work, but also between different workplaces.”
Even at the lower end of Hannity’s suggested range, 70 hours a week means you’re working ten hours a day every day of the week. On the high end, 90 hours would mean working 13 hours a week Monday through Saturday, and on Sundays you are allowed to take it easy and only work 12. (I assume Sean, who wears his Christian piety on his sleeve, would choose Sunday as the day of comparative rest.)
As left-wing commentator Krystal Ball noted in a discussion on Hannity’s employment advice with her podcast co-host Kyle Kulinski, that’s a great message for one of the most prominent proponents of supposedly “family-oriented” conservative politics. When exactly should employees? to see their families if everyone follows Hannity’s advice?
Assuming you’re sleeping eight hours a night, a 13-hour workday will give you three whole hours to yourself, even if you’re telecommuting. If your work involves manual labor, I think you can get the full three hours if you find a way to instantly teleport to work and back. But if you live half an hour from work, for example, you only have two hours a day to split between preparing and eating meals, brushing your teeth, running errands, and waving goodbye to your loved ones.
A lot of people have a lot of course longer commute than that. And since there’s a legal limit to how many hours a week you can work for each employer, anyone who takes Sean’s financial advice not only travels from home to work, but among different workplaces.
Unfortunately we live in a country where many people live to be similar. But they don’t have to be. We could raise the minimum wage to a number of people people can live on (with just one job), change labor laws to make it easier to unionize, provide basic services for everyone like universal health care, and maybe even a week’s mandate or two. from paid vacation like damn close to any other nation on the planet that somehow manages.
As a socialist I would actually like to go much further than this minimum. Everything I just mentioned would only bring the US up to the level of a more normal capitalist country.
But Sean Hannity has resisted even the bare minimum throughout his political life. He just spent four years carrying water for Donald Trump while the Trump administration is on a blaze of… deregulation and union busting. Before that, he was an apologist for the even more ostentatious “pro-business” George W. Bush.
No wonder Hannity can give the best advice to the working class to surrender even more of their lives to corporate America and hope for the best. And no wonder the Hannities of the world spend so much of their time promoting culture war distractions rather than advocating their views on bread-and-butter issues. Because he’s right: people “don’t like to hear” that their entire time on Earth should be spent working.
I wonder why not.