Sean Hannity doesn’t think you spend enough of your life at work. In a recent discussion on his talk radio show, he suggested that Americans who are struggling financially should just work harder. Much more. Like, almost every hour of their lives.
This is crazy. Americans already have to spend far 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 only nations of any kind—whose citizens have no legal guarantee Any paid vacation days.
Most Americans work in non-union jobs where they can be fired without recourse. And in the United States—unlike comparable nations that have nationalized health insurance systems—losing your job means you and your dependents lose their health insurance.
All of this is a recipe for many people to stay in jobs they hate, day after day and month after month, without even a measly week of paid vacation. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to have a job with well-defined hours, rather than juggling two or three economy gigs.
Not surprisingly, Americans are much more likely than citizens of other developed countries report feelings of “high stress”. We all work ourselves to death. So why does Sean Hannity, a self-styled populist, think we need to work even harder?
“It’s what I do”
“Maybe instead of working 40 hours a week,” Hannity suggested, “come with the rest—work 70, 80, 90 hours. And I know people don’t like to hear that advice, but that’s what I do.”
I double-checked that claim, to see how many hours of his talk radio show (The Sean Hannity Show) and his Fox News show (Hannity) in fact it runs every week. The radio show runs for three hours in the late afternoon and the TV show runs for a full hour in the evening. Oh, both of these shows only run Monday through Thursday.
That is sixteen hours a week in the air. Enough The Sean Hannity Show is spent taking calls instead of prepared material, but that doesn’t mean both shows don’t include plenty of prep time each week.
I expect the vast majority of pre-production is done by his staff, but let’s pretend for the sake of argument that Hannity personally does a full hour of prep for every hour he’s on the air. Even that it would only add up to a four-day week, with a total of 32 hours of work. This is even better than the 35-hour week workers enjoy in France.
Hannity’s Dystopian Vision
So why does Hannity think ordinary Americans should at least work twice the legally mandated French working week?
Assuming he’s not also driving Uber on the weekends to make ends meet, Hannity’s present tense “that’s I am doing“The claim is pretty dubious. He also said that decades ago, when he was working as a contractor, he tried to stay on construction sites as long as he was allowed. That part is harder to verify. Let’s go ahead and assume he’s telling the truth. The most important question is why one thinks one should I have to live like this
“…as there is a legal limit to how many hours per week you can work for any employer, anyone taking Sean’s financial advice moves not just from home to work but between different workplaces.“
Even at the low end of Hannity’s suggested range, 70 hours a week means you’re at work for ten hours a day every day of the week. At the top, 90 hours would mean you work 13 hours a week Monday through Saturday, after Sunday you can take it easy and only work 12. (I guess Sean, who wears his Christian piety on his sleeve, would choose on Sunday as a day of comparative rest.)
As left-wing commentator Krystal Ball pointed out in a discussion On Hannity’s labor advice with podcast co-host Kyle Kulinski, that’s a hell of a message for one of the highest-profile proponents of supposedly “pro-family” conservative policy. When exactly should employees do I see their families if they all take Hannity’s advice?
Assuming you get eight hours of sleep a night, a 13-hour workday gives you three full hours to yourself, even if you telecommute. If your job involves manual labor, I guess you can get the full three hours if you’ve found a way to teleport momentarily to work and back. But if you live, say, half an hour from where you work, you’re limited to two hours a day to divide between preparing and eating meals, brushing your teeth, buying groceries, and greeting loved ones. .
Many people, of course, have a lot longer commutes from this. And since there’s a legal limit to how many hours a week you can work for any employer, anyone who takes Sean’s financial advice moves not only from home to work, but between different workplaces.
Unfortunately, we live in a country where many people live is like this. But it doesn’t have to be. We could raise the minimum wage to a number people could actually live on (with just one job), change labor laws to make it easier to organize unions, provide everyone with basic social services like universal health care, and maybe even mandating a week or two of paid vacation like blasphemy near every other nation on the planet somehow manages.
As a socialist, I would really like to go much further than this minimum. Everything I just mentioned would bring the US to the level of a more normal capitalist country.
But Sean Hannity has spent his entire political life opposing even the slightest. He just spent four years carrying water for Donald Trump while the Trump administration went on a spree deregulation and union collapse. He was an apologist for the even more ostentatiously “hyper-operational” George W. Bush before that.
It’s no wonder that the best Hannity can offer working-class people is advice to surrender even more of their lives to corporate America and hope for the best. And it’s no wonder the Hannities of the world spend so much of their time promoting culture war distractions instead of advocating their views on bread issues. Because he’s right — people “don’t like to hear” that all their time on earth must be spent at work.
I wonder why not.