Here is one thing we know about the unemployment benefits the government has been funding since the pandemic started: they helped lead to historic reductions in poverty and hunger.
Here is another thing we know about the unemployment benefits: ending them brings very few positives and a whole host of negatives:
Here is another thing we know about the unemployment benefits: they didn’t tank the economy or spike the jobless numbers:
But “do things that are good and useful” is rarely a driving force of public policy, and so as of this writing, approximately 7.5 million people have just been fully and abruptly kicked off of their unemployment benefits. (Disclosure: I am one of those people. It’s fine, I’m fine, seriously.) An additional 3 million people have been cut off from the extra $300 a week that the federal government was kicking in until this past weekend.
This has happened with the full support of the Biden administration, which has said it “makes sense” for the benefits to end and done nothing else to alleviate this situation except tepidly suggest that states think about whether they might want to extend their unemployment aid. Guess what? The states thought about it, and they said no.
Some Biden aides apparently decided a few days before the cutoff that they were worried about what might happen, but oh well, it’s happening anyway. Time to get millions of people back into low-wage exploitation!
Another thing that is happening right now is that the United States lags way behind similar countries when it comes to vaccination rates, and way ahead of similar countries when it comes to COVID deaths.
So, to recap, an objectively good policy that has worked miracles and that will protect people in a still-raging pandemic is being cut off even though we already know that ending it will cause lots of harm in return for little gain, and the supposedly “progressive” party has signed on to all of this. America!
Discourse Blog’s position remains the same: just give us the money.