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LETTER: Americans need a break from the rat race

The 32-hour workweek recently proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders presents an opportunity to reflect on the hidden costs of our workplace culture. Metrics such as disposable income comparisons (Rich Lowry’s recent column) fail to reflect these hidden costs.

For starters, consider our always-on-the-go working culture. You know the drill — long hours, mandatory uncompensated overtime and working lunches, together with commutes that can be long and stressful. This routine, which leaves little time for workers to decompress, eat healthy meals and get proper exercise and rest, is hardly conducive to health and wellness. And then — in some workplaces being sick is not an option either. Is it any wonder why health care costs are so high?

Working parents often have it worse. Too busy working and commuting, they have correspondingly less time to engage with the education of their children, to bring them up as law-abiding citizens or to otherwise parent effectively. Even the best teachers can do only so much absent parental engagement. Do we ever wonder why the Clark County School District’s national rankings have remained low while few teachers ever receive poor performance evaluations, no matter now much money we throw at fixing our school system?

For its part, juvenile crime — from reckless driving to burglaries, robberies and worse — has its costs, too. And let’s not forget classroom disciplinary problems that themselves adversely impact learning and, with it, the return on the education dollar. Would more parental engagement have resulted in better upbringing?

The time is long overdue for leaders at all levels of government to better “connect the dots.” Let’s remember this at election time.

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