It’s Time to Break Free of Unemployment Bonus Delusions


In early 2021, when popular opinion of federal unemployment bonuses and expansions began to turn sour, proponents of enhanced benefits clung to two false realities: One, that expanded unemployment benefits don’t discourage work—and two, to the extent that they might, it’s a good thing because otherwise workers would be exploited by those pesky capitalists that the Left loves to hate.

These absurdities have since devolved into more sophisticated—but equally misleading—claims.

The latest hot take comes from the New York Times’s (NYT) grossly inaccurate assessment—that the end of unemployment bonuses didn’t positively impact job growth. Cherry-picking the findings of a recent questionable working paper, the NYT claims that unemployment benefits declined in states ending enhanced federal unemployment bonuses, but employment didn’t rise at the same rate. The article inaccurately summarizes the latest job report, and casts states continuing expanded unemployment bonuses in a favorable light.