The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic lockdown had a massive impact on our American way of life. Nearly two million Americans contracted the novel coronavirus, and an incredible 30 million Americans became unemployed in a matter of weeks. Many small businesses, which act as the keystone to our nation’s communities, were forced to limit their business activity, or worse, close their doors altogether. And despite the government mandating these shutdowns, the so-called bailouts sent from Congress to rescue them have fallen short of the support they truly need.
In a new video released by the Foundation for Government Accountability, senior fellow Scott Centorino discusses the hurdles many small businesses are facing to reopen.
“The policymakers at the federal and state level can do a lot of things to make the economic recovery faster and stronger,” Centorino says. “First, it’s fixing the problems with the work disincentives and the unemployment benefit increase, and then second, reforming laws, especially at the state level, that are really making it hard for workers to become independent contractors.”
The $600 per week increase Congress provided to unemployment benefits has made it more lucrative for many workers to stay unemployed rather than return to work. But without workers, many small businesses will not be able to reopen. The imbalance is now holding back the economic recovery, and Congress should act swiftly to restore unemployment insurance as a safety net program and promote a return to work for all Americans.
Additionally, policymakers at every level of government should make it easier for workers to become independent contractors. By promoting independent contractors, lawmakers can make it easier for businesses to restore employment while adhering to many reduced capacity guidelines, and give workers more flexibility to maintain the hours and pay they need, while balancing many new responsibilities—like childcare—in the wake of COVID-19.
Small businesses drive the American economy, and it’s not too late for the government to course correct and give small businesses the comeback they—and we all—deserve. Learn more here.