The pandemic is not over yet and there are people who are really needing the supports provided by the government to cope with the damages caused by the pandemic, however some states are determined to end the benefits to get people back to work.
Missouri and Tennessee announced they will join Republican-led states Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana and South Carolina in ending all pandemic-related unemployment benefits because they believe the extra money is preventing the unemployed from covering the new jobs being required with the return to normalcy.
“While these benefits provided supplemental financial assistance during the height of Covid-19, they were meant to be temporary and their continuation has instead worsened the workforce problems we face,” Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said.
Businesses and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce agree that nationwide relief needs to end after the government reported that employers hired only 266,000 people in April out of an expected 1 million.
The seven states that have taken this action are convinced that government benefits are causing hiring to slow, but not all share the same view.
Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz of the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute believe that cutting benefits now, as some states have done or are considering, will not only hurt people who rely on benefits while they can’t find work, but will also hurt the economy’s recovery because people with that money are buying goods and food.
For the governor of the Federal Reserve, Lael Brainard, there are other factors that are influencing this problem in addition to unemployment benefits and for him, people really want to go back to work and are willing to do so, but the school closures mean that many mothers and fathers need to take care of their children and cannot look for work.
Another argument that has been made is that people are afraid of being infected by the virus that still claims nearly 700 American lives a day. Brainard pointed out that in April, only one in four working-age citizens was fully vaccinated.