CARES Act Makes It More Lucrative Not To Work—Congress Must Fix That

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It’s all too easy to dismiss claims that welfare benefits can discourage people from working. Politicians tell us that this is never really the case—that it’s just a made-up talking point designed to scare people.

But in the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), changes in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program literally make it so that many individuals will receive more from the government than they did from their previous jobs. Nobody disputes that many Americans deserve some help, especially during a pandemic. However, under this bill, unemployment benefits actually pay more than work does for millions of Americans. Yes, you read that right.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed, with CNBC recently highlighting that unemployed workers could get more than 100% of their paycheck under the CARES Act. How is this possible?