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claudia's Journal: What Fresh Atrocity is This? 2

Journal by claudia
Bush wants to do away with OT pay for many positions by making them exempt.

I've always understood exempt positions to be the white-collar professionals such as investment bankers, environmental engineers, and those like me, software engineers. The article states, "Now it's been distorted to provide overtime to engineers making over $80,000 a year."

I've never heard of an engineer being paid OT, mainly because it's an exempt position. We generally make enough money to pay our bills, and more, even though some weeks are damn brutal. I don't need to be paid OT. However, I have worked in non-exempt positions, such as an admin assistant, which paid so shittily I relied on the OT to pay the bills and take an occasional trip. Not to mention dealing with the narcissitic boss with an overblown sense of entitlement. I like seeing the harrassed, long-suffering exec. assistant paid the OT instead of me; or for that matter, anyone who has to deal with that sort of crap. We exempt people are fairly removed from it, for the most part.

My first thought is that this is extremely bad for the economy. OT is what drives companies to hire new workers because it is so costly to them. Do away with OT, and companies might now have the opportunity to milk 60- or 80-hour weeks out of what are now non-exempt positions instead of hiring someone new.

Could this potentially be a setback for the economy?

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What Fresh Atrocity is This?

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  • Passing legislation like this merely reinforced the impression that George W Bush's administration are in the pocket of big business, and are not looking out for the people at the sharp end. Maybe they hope that everyone's attention will be diverted by the looming military action in Iraq... although I can't see that working in the long run, as this will directly affect people's financial well-being.
  • Do away with OT, and companies might now have the opportunity to milk 60- or 80-hour weeks out of what are now non-exempt positions instead of hiring someone new.

    I believe that'd be the point. Honestly, I don't expect an anti-overtime bill to pass (congressional constituents will probably threaten to oust their representatives), but I believe it has a valid theory behind it.

    There are many ways to attempt economic stimulation. Right now, it seems Bush is trying to make it easier for businesses to increase output without incurring too much additional cost. It's a stimulation-though-business strategy. It is more in line with the idea that a minimum wage is bad because fewer people can be hired than the idea that the minimum wage good because people have money to spend.

    Sure, it contrasts with things like the New Deal strategy of stimulation-through-government (or its other government spending), but while that did improve the general attitude of the U.S. and get us through a rough patch, it both created a huge deficit and required a bigger government (to administrate benefits to the poor, and for new taxes, for new regulatory groups, etc.) -- and once government agencies were created, it became nearly impossible to remove them when the economic crisis was over. It's arguable whether agencies *should* have been removed, but regardless, it was a big increase in the government's size.

    Consumers can't stimulate-through-spending if they don't have money, true. But in the wake of the market crash, and terrorism threats, the general attitude of America has been exceedingly cautious -- spooked. If consumers aren't going to spend anyway, it doesn't much matter how much they make. Bush's approach seems to expect that individuals aren't going to feel better and spend until businesses look stronger. Hopefully, that gets the market up and restores confidence. Personally I don't expect this to help, but I can imagine why others could have a better outlook.

After any salary raise, you will have less money at the end of the month than you did before.

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