Unemployment benefits have become controversial in America this month. Following the terrible jobs report from April 2021, conservatives renewed conversations about the unintended impacts that long-term unemployment benefits are having on the workforce.
A vital segment of economic recovery involves getting the American people back to work. However, this cannot happen if the federal government is paying employees to stay home, rather than get back to work.
Right now, across the nation, countless businesses have “help wanted” and “hiring” signs posted. Yet, labor shortages persist. This stifles economic recovery, as Republicans are pointing out; Democrats, meanwhile, continue to downplay the harm of continuous unemployment benefits.
According to Washington Examiner, both Republicans and Democrats alike have issues with Biden’s handling of unemployment benefits, albeit for very different reasons, however.
GOP vs. Democrats on Unemployment Benefits
Under Biden’s American Rescue Plan, unemployment benefits don’t come to a close until around September 2021. This is a problem because America can’t afford another four months of labor shortages and businesses that are struggling. The jobs report from last month was very clear and indicates that what the country is doing now is not working.
Republicans are therefore calling for President Biden to make some changes and incentivize Americans to return to work. GOP Sen. Ben Sasse believes that Biden ought to turn emergency jobless benefits into hiring bonuses. Thus far, however, the president has made no indication that he plans to veer from the current course.
President Biden: "Anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits." pic.twitter.com/CEABOXjoNj
— The Hill (@thehill) May 10, 2021
Democrats, too, are frustrated with Biden, yet for a very different reason. Leftists believe that Biden ought to take even more action to solidify unemployment benefits. Democrats argue that returns to work are stagnant not due to jobless benefits, but rather as a result of health concerns about COVID-19.
So, while Republicans want Biden to take more action to get folks back to work, Democrats believe that Biden should do even more to make Americans comfortable with not working.
Playing Both Sides of the Field
President Biden, amid pressure from both the GOP and Democrats, appears to be trying to play both sides of the field.
Biden says he doesn't see "much evidence" that COVID unemployment benefits are keeping people from going back to work: "Americans want to work…I think that people who claim Americans won't work, even if they find a good and fair opportunity, underestimate the American people." pic.twitter.com/xKhcKHLqCI
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 10, 2021
The president claims that anyone who refuses work won’t be given unemployment benefits; however, his policies do not bear this out. Meanwhile, Biden is also attempting to pass costly spending packages that will only complicate returns to work and send American jobs off to other nations.
*The unemployment rate ROSE for the first time during the recovery.
*Black unemployment rose to 9.7%.
*Unemployment rates for Americans without any college education rose.
*18,000 manufacturing jobs were lost.
Biden’s policies are slowing the economy.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) May 7, 2021
Biden’s handling of unemployment benefits is sure to impact the midterm elections. This president has downplayed the claims that benefits are hindering return to work; yet, Biden hasn’t given a solid explanation about the labor shortages and struggles that businesses are having with (re)hiring people.
What do you think about unemployment benefits in the United States? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.