You know how the Coup Klux Klan is always saying that unemployment insurance is just paying workers to stay unemployed and if the MOOCHERS wanna eat, they should work? It seems that it might be more complicated than that! Who knew?
As the U.S. economy bounces back from the COVID-induced downturn, some employers say they’re having a hard time finding workers. GOP lawmakers like Rep. David Rouzer (N.C.) blame the safety net.
“This is what happens when you extend unemployment benefits too long and add a $1400 stimulus payment,” Rouzer said on Twitter last week, posting a photo from a Hardee’s that said it was closed for lack of staff. “Right when employers need workers to fully open back up, few can be found.”
OK, that’s the GOP’s premise. So what’s actually happening?
While some employers may be struggling to hire for one reason or another right now, economists say generous unemployment benefits are not the cause.
If demand for workers were exceeding supply, then the price of labor would be shooting up. But as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last week, overall wage growth hasn’t increased. “We don’t see wages moving up yet, and presumably we would see that in a really tight labor market,” Powell said at a press conference. “And we may well start to see that.”
Gee, for people who claim to love, Love, LOVE the invisible hand of the market, they really don’t understand the market economy very well.
For now, unemployment remains elevated, at 6%, compared to 3.5% before the pandemic, and there were 4 million more unemployed people in March 2021 than in February 2020. That data reflects people who are trying to find jobs, not those who have removed themselves from the workforce for a number of reasons, like a lack of child care. Yet some business owners still say there are no willing workers out there.
So, Republicans who can always find a way to make things worse are springing into action and agitating against the American Families Plan and Infrastructure Week!
And we would be remiss if we did not mention the pearl-clutching histrionics of Senatorette Lindsey Graham:
Democrats “are going to make the next four months impossible for small businesses to hire,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.
And Sen. Batboy of Floriduh:
“This bill creates an incentive for people to be unemployed for the next four months,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said.
And let’s not leave Louisiana out:
“People get paid more not to work than to work,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told HuffPost, referring to the extra federal benefits. “Economists talk about that, but anecdotally, it’s clear.”
And speaking of anecdotal, Chef Gruel is owner of the Slapfish restaurant franchise says that…
Anyway what all of these morons keep missing: there is still a pandemic, service workers are uniquely exposed to the Trump-Virus, and to paraphrase Field of Dreams, if you pay them a living wage, they will come. But probably not until they can be assured that working at your lousy fish-fry joint won’t kill them.
UPDATE 1: NBC News tells us… workers eff’ing dodged a bullet-
“President Joe Biden’s Labor Department on Wednesday rescinded a Trump-era rule that would have made it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.”