On the last business day of March, U.S. job makers had posted 8.1 million available jobs – a record high. In a functioning economy, that would have been great news for Americans looking for work, especially after economic lockdowns. But reality set in last week when the disappointing jobs numbers ended up being the biggest miss in decades.
President Biden and Democrats will make excuses for this abysmal reality, but the truth is their own massive spending agenda created this problem. The $1.9 trillion spending package Democrats jammed through in March contained a provision which authorized $300-per-week payments in the form of a “federal jobless supplement” for individuals who are currently unemployed.
This, coupled with the unemployment benefits they were already receiving, is referred to as “enhanced unemployment insurance benefits,” and it’s one of the main causes of the striking predicament our country has found itself in.
That is why House Republicans sent a letter yesterday to state governors who have not yet opted out of the federal jobless supplement, urging them to do so and get Americans back to work and our economy back on track.
For a large swath of people, the amount of money they are currently receiving through enhanced unemployment insurance benefits is more than they would make in wages if they returned to the workforce. So despite the millions of individuals currently unemployed, businesses simply can’t find enough people to hire.
President Biden and Congressional Democrats are literally paying people to stay home.
By disincentivizing work, they have paved the way to a labor shortage that caused the unemployment rate to rise and is crushing small businesses who are still trying to navigate their own recovery after suffering through lockdowns.
But Democrats are in denial. After last Friday’s horrendous jobs report, President Joe Biden remarked, “I know some employers are having trouble filling jobs… Today’s report just underscores, in my view, how vital the actions we’re taking are.”
That may be the President’s view, but it is completely detached from reality. The same day President Biden applauded himself for mismanaging our economy into one of the biggest jobs report misses in decades, business owners expressed a much different opinion. Rode Hall, the CEO of Alene Candles, summarized the struggle his company and so many others are experiencing trying to hire employees:
“We have had more than 100 positions open since the start of the year, and just recently we increased sign-on bonuses to $1,200 for hourly positions – in-part because we are competing with an entity that can print its own money – the federal government – and its $300 per week additional unemployment benefit,” said Mr. Hall.
And while Democrats have attempted to explain away the jobs report by blaming everything from health concerns to school closures, they know that the federal jobless supplement is a key contributor to the labor shortage. They just don’t want to admit it.
In fact, on Monday, President Biden ordered the Labor Department to ensure unemployed individuals cannot obtain enhanced federal jobless benefits after turning down a suitable job offer — despite continuing to reject the fact that his weekly unemployment bonus is a problem.
Democrats need to admit their mistake and do what’s best for our country and our economy. It’s time to end the federal jobless supplement and join Republicans in creating policies that will actually incentivize individuals to return to the workforce.