Hungry people go back to work
By Doug Hamilton
Over the next two weeks, around 25 states will prematurely end extended unemployment benefits of $ 300 per week for the unemployed based on the unsubstantiated claim by some businesses and politicians that the extra $ 300 is preventing people from seeking. work. In true capitalist logic, I guess starving people back to work is the best way to solve this labor shortage.
Never mind the overwhelming majority of studies that show that stimulus payments and extended unemployment benefits have kept families home and fed, kept children out of poverty, and now provide some of the money that fuels the economy. current demand for labor.
In fact, I find it rich to hear businesses blame extended unemployment benefits and stimulus checks as the reason they struggle to get labor. My general answer is: Let the company that did not receive PPP funds lay the foundation stone. Where did this money go and why did these companies not use it to retain workers as planned?
Even large publicly traded companies have reached out to the Federal Reserve to support their investors and shareholders; If you think the $ 4 trillion in coronavirus relief approved by Congress is a large number, the Federal Reserve, in a process called Quantitative Easing, has spent multiples of that amount to buy stocks. of corporations and debt instruments to save those corporations from the trash. This is an amount that is not easily accessible, but it is easy to guess that the money the Fed spent on QE will make the total amount paid out under extended unemployment benefits appear to be a rounding error. Without QE, the markets and many businesses would be devastated.
No one should be kidding that businesses and the stock market weren’t bailed out first, only this time (compared to the 2007-2008 financial crisis) a few crumbs were given directly to people in the form of stimulus payments. and long-term unemployment benefits. Unsurprisingly, these crumbs are now fueling growth.
With these huge sums of money being spent to bail out companies, people are starting to see the limits of this neoliberal form of capitalism in which we currently live: that is, after two massive bailouts by the government at the expense of the people. America, “private” companies actually need a LOT of government support to keep themselves going. Also, if we are using huge sums of taxpayer money and resources to support these businesses, why aren’t we asking for anything in return – like decent wages, worker representation on boards, carbon emission reductions or other reforms that lead us to a true “trickle-down” economy.
So the next time you hear someone complaining about labor shortages from extended unemployment benefits and stimulus payments, don’t take them too seriously. They are just trying to blame individuals for systematic problems.
Doug Hamilton is a member of the Daily Camera Community Editorial Board