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Sanders' 32-hour workweek plan the latest example of society's proclivity to 'vilify work': Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, CEO of the Baltimore-based mikeroweWORKS foundation, joined FOX Business' "Cavuto Coast to Coast" on Friday after Sen. Bernie Sanders' comments.

Sen. Bernie Sanders', I-Vt., proposal of a 32-hour workweek is the latest example of a societal trend toward the vilification of work, "How America Works" host and blue-collar labor proponent Mike Rowe told FOX Business on Friday.

Rowe, who founded the mikeroweWORKS Foundation in his hometown of Baltimore to support those in pursuit of skilled labor jobs, said society has wrongly turned to blaming work for all of its ills.

"Everything I've seen… [offers] example after example of what our country and what our society is doing to literally vilify work," he told "Cavuto Coast to Coast."

"Work has become the proximate cause of all our pain, all our un-fulfillment, all of our misery, and you can see that by the fact that retirement is still the brass ring — the thing that everybody is somehow working toward."


Rowe, however, added that Sanders, at 82, is himself a "great example" of someone who is "still up there and still working." Sanders has been working in public life since becoming mayor of Burlington, Vt., in 1981.

"We're not born with work ethic. My foundation offers work ethic scholarships precisely because if somebody doesn't make a case for it, we're all going to default to our default positions," Rowe said of the importance of respecting hard work. 

"If you want to make a case for work ethic — we just got a work-ethic curriculum into a big public school. It's taken three years. We've attached $5 million for the top people in that class to go to any trade school they want in the country, full ride. I'm not patting myself on the back for this, I'm just saying that we need better examples of people who will cheerfully take hold of a thing and lift."

Rowe said it is important to push back on the notion that the more one works, the more miserable one is, and that such a sentiment is antithetical to him in both a macro- and micro-sense.


"We're in control of the definition of a good job. There's a lot of stuff we can't control, but we didn't have to take shop class out of high school, but we did, and the unintended consequences… I can draw a straight line from that to $1.7 trillion in student loans, to 11 million open positions that don't require a four-year degree, to the very ethos that we're talking about right now," he added.

Rowe contrasted the current state of American skilled labor with that of other advanced nations like South Korea, Germany and Switzerland, which he said have a "guild" system wherein all career paths are availed to people without "put[ting a] thumb on the scale."


"None of this is to say that a four-year degree is bad. It's just to say that it's expensive, and it sure as hell isn't the best path for most people. That's a lie. We should stop spreading it," he said.

Rowe said the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has trained nearly 2,000 people to be plumbers, welders, steam-fitters and the like, and that most are making six-figure salaries.

He called the success stories examples that disprove perceptions about people who choose not to seek a college education.

"They are living proof that the stigmas and stereotypes and the myths and the misperceptions that keep kids out of these fields need to be debunked." 

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