News & Politics

White House Denies That Paying Workers to Sit at Home Is a Disincentive to Work

Amy Sancetta

The White House is denying that the extended unemployment benefits authorized in the pandemic relief bill passed in March had anything to do with weak job creation last month.

“We see there being a number of other factors that have a larger impact, including the pace of vaccinations just a month ago, the childcare impacts, the need to get more money out into state and local communities,” she said. “So that’s where our focus is going to be, and, for us, it’s important that we continue to remain solutions-oriented on areas where we feel can be most beneficial to the economy and not be moved by talking points.”

Some people call them “facts.” Others call them “talking points.” Either way, America has a problem. The 266,000 jobs created last month stand in stark contrast to the more than 7 million job openings reported at the beginning of April.

Washington Examiner:

Some Republican governors announced last week after the jobs report was released that they would clamp down on unemployment benefits. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for instance, said his state would soon require people seeking financial assistance to prove they were looking to be hired.

“The demand is there. Businesses want to hire more people, and I think we can go in that direction very soon,” he said.

Arkansas, Montana, and South Carolina are taking similar steps after Congress approved Biden’s plan to provide an extra $300 in weekly payments for unemployed workers as part of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus package.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced yesterday that his state would no longer accept federal unemployment extension funds.

Reeves said in an announcement on social media, “It has become clear to me that we cannot have a full economic recovery until we get the thousands of available jobs in our state filled.”

And that’s the bottom line. With employers eager to reopen and expand, they’re finding it impossible to do so because employees don’t have to work. True, in many cases workers have childcare issues because teachers still refuse to come back to work. But fears of contracting Covid are overblown. Common-sense precautions will make workers far less likely to be infected.

Why should anyone go to work when the government pays them more to sit at home? It’s not one of the great mysteries of the universe why people aren’t going back to work. To pretend that you don’t understand why someone who makes more sitting on his couch than he would at the office is disingenuous at best.

And yet, the Biden White House and Democrats generally — including liberal economists who never face the truth about the policies they promote — are in full-blown denial. Every month that the recovery is strangled by government policies means a weaker recovery in the long run.