Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) exposed the futility and counter-productiveness of unemployment benefits earlier this week in an exchange with the acting head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of the House, Shalanda Young.
To do so, Graham used members of his own family as an example as to why lavish benefits could discourage people from taking a job, and all of that against the backdrop of many employers struggling to fill in vacancies.
Graham discussed with Young policies on unemployment benefits during a hearing on Wednesday.
Stay at home and get more money!
He asked the OMB director whether she understood the logic behind the fact that the benefit structure is causing many jobs to remain unfilled even as the economy is opening up after the pandemic.
Young responded that she comprehended the reasoning but argued she didn’t know Americans would prefer not to work, and to collect benefits instead because “this country” perceives work as dignified.
Graham chuckled in response and explained that he had “a lot of people” in his own family who aren’t working due to the fact that they were receiving benefits.
He said such people aren’t “bad persons”, especially it would make no sense for them to take up a job that pays $15 per hour when they are collecting the equivalent of $23 per hour from the government.
Back in March, Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill extended a $300 weekly boost during the pandemic, until Sept. 6, and a new tax waiver for many Americans on their first $10,200 in benefits.
The measure has been heavily criticized by Republicans precisely because it disincentivizes people from taking jobs.
Multiple states, mostly GOP-dominated, have rejected the lavish unemployment benefits of the federal government in order to stimulate people to go back to the workforce.
Half of the businesses are short on staff
Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki has stated that it was up to every state governor to make their own decision, with the extended benefits deemed just an “extra helping hand” for employees.
The economy added a total of 559,000 jobs last month, with unemployment dropping from 6.1% to 5.8%.
Economists’ predictions for May forecast 671,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.9%.
Almost half of all small business owners in America have complained of having unfilled vacancies in May.
Speaking on Friday about the jobs report, President Joe Biden touted it as “historic progress”, which he argued was pulling America out of the worst economic crisis in 100 years.