New Year, Same Disincentives to Work

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With the most recent round of COVID ‘relief,’ 2021 is already becoming more déjà vu than ‘new year, better life’ for our country.

Of course, it’s wishful thinking to assume that midnight on January 1 would’ve reversed all the suffering and loss of the previous year, but by renewing the weekly unemployment insurance (UI) boost at the $300 level, Congress is helping to prolong it.

Last year, when the initial Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act introduced a $600 weekly unemployment boost, what was intended to be a stopgap to help people during lockdowns became a way for millions of people — nearly 70 percent of recipients — to receive more money for staying home than they could by going back to work.