Thursday, July 30, 2020

Basic Economics

If you take $400 per week away from the 20 million people most likely to spend it, businesses lose well over $30 billion in sales every month.  If you're trying to revive a cratering economy, that's really a pretty dumb idea — but that's the Republican proposal for "helping" the unemployed.

Granted, many of the unemployed currently are collecting more in unemployment benefits than they earned while they were working, which might make them hesitant to return to their crappy jobs – mostly "heroic" ones like cashier, busboy, and pedicurist.  Sorry – no extra pay for your added risk.  Many more will stay unemployed because their jobs have disappeared, and aren't coming back any time soon.

While some Republicans in Congress must see their $200 proposal as a starting point in a negotiation, the hard right would like to end the benefit entirely.  They play on the politics of resentment, which may be the defining feature of the Tr*mpian base: "Why should somebody else get something if I'm not getting it — especially those people?"  Needless to say, opponents of enhanced unemployment benefits will masquerade as "fiscal hawks," but one can't help but notice how their hawkishness waxes and wanes depending on who gets the money being spent.

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