End the destructive unemployment bonus
- BY Nick Stehle
When Congress created the $600 per week unemployment bonus in the CARES Act, it appropriately set an expiration date of July 31. The largest bonus in the history of the program (by several hundreds of dollars) was only intended to be available in the short term, as millions were laid off and we entered the early, uncertain phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That bonus has done a predictably devastating amount of damage, but now some liberals in Congress would like to extend the handout for at least another six months, even as employment numbers are rising and the economy is reopening. Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration need to hold strong and let this bonus expire on time.
Since the beginning, the virus strategy has been to “flatten the curve” by encouraging workers to stay home. The $600 bonus was compensation for the consequences of that effort. Thankfully, few of our hospitals saw their capacity limits truly threatened. But while we have not lately seen the kind of effects from the virus that we saw earlier this year, businesses have taken a nosedive. As desperate businesses try to hire back workers, their employees refuse to come back because they can actually make more by remaining in government dependency.