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Apr 26 2021

Workers Unwilling to Work Thanks to Covid Relief

Small businesses face another challenge, on top of the Covid lockdowns and Black Lives Matter riots. People are not willing to work, because Big Government is paying them so much not to.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The National Federation of Independent Business surveyed more than 500 small businesses and reported last week that 42% of them had job openings they couldn’t fill.

How can this be, with the economy only beginning to recover from the artificially induced Covid depression that threw millions out of work?

Some workers still fear they’ll contract Covid if they return to the workplace, and some parents are unable to take on full-time work because their children’s schools remain shut.

The third reason is even more infuriating than the second.

As Covid spread and the nation locked down last spring, Congress approved enhanced weekly benefits of $600, in addition to the usual state-administered unemployment payments, through July 2020. A working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 76% of those eligible for the $600 bonus could be given at least as much for being jobless as they’d earn by working. Lawmakers have since trimmed the enhanced unemployment benefits to $300 a week and extended them through September 2021. University of Chicago economist Peter Ganong says that even with the supplemental benefit halved to $300, “42% of workers are making more than their pre-unemployment wage.” And these analyses don’t count food stamps, rental assistance and other government help…

Also,

The first $10,200 in unemployment compensation is exempt from federal income tax under this year’s Covid relief law.

It has never been less fun to be an employer like Christie Phelps, who owns a daycare business:

Workers slack off or make audacious demands. If they don’t get what they want, “they’ll quit on you, and then they’ll try to go get unemployment.”

Unemployment benefits, when they had a job but quit? Yes:

The [Bureau of Labor Statistics] reports that some 3.4 million Americans quit their jobs in February. Under last year’s Covid-relief legislation, workers who leave voluntarily are still eligible for federal enhanced unemployment, University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan notes.

Mulligan…

…has estimated that as a direct result of the federal government’s $300 enhanced unemployment benefit, between three million and five million fewer people are currently employed.

Christie Phelps says that if the benefits are extended past September, she will have to pull the plug on her business.

Even businesses that don’t shut down will struggle to expand. The longer enhanced unemployment stretches on, the more likely it looks that job growth will trail economic growth, leading to production shortfalls and perhaps higher prices.

Pump massive amounts of free money into the economy, then discourage people from producing goods and services to buy with it. Sounds like a surefire recipe for inflation.

Mulligan says that with unemployment benefits so high, joblessness “becomes a new occupation—it’s not that different than having an army, except these people’s jobs are to sit at home rather than go to a foreign theater.”

They do have one task other than to sit watching Netflix. They have to vote Democrat if they want to keep the free money flowing.

On a tip from Varla.


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