Editorial: Don't shame unemployed; benefits must sustain families
Tuesday, July 28, 2020 -- The costs of dealing with the turmoil of homeless families and the related issues of healthcare; childcare and nutrition will far exceed the temporary continuation of the current $600 a week to those who cannot return to work. This isn't fancy monetary policy. It isn't complicated economic theory. It is basic concern for hard working North Carolinians who through no fault of their own find themselves at the edge of economic collapse.Posted — Updated
This week marks the end of state-ordered moratoriums on evictions and utility cutoffs for nonpayment.
In days, how many of those 825,000 will be without roofs over their families’ heads? How many will face temperatures near 100 without utilities?
In the U.S. Senate, where help should be on the way, North Carolina’s Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis have not acted. Why don’t we hear their voices? Why aren’t they demanding action, a Senate bill, or even a vote on the plan the U.S. House delivered two months ago?
There are those – leaders of the General Assembly and some employers maybe – who say the additional unemployment payments are keeping some workers from going back to jobs. They need to consider this:
- In almost every case, a laid-off worker who does not go back to a job when their employer opens it up, no longer qualifies for unemployment benefits.
- In 2020, if a worker getting $600 a week in unemployment payments is better off than having a job, the problem is more with the kinds of wages and benefits employers are offering – not with the workers who are turning down jobs.
Let’s get real. Being out of work, particularly today, is not a choice.
This is money that has been keeping food on families’ tables; roofs over their heads and paying utility bills on scorching 100-plus-degree days. It is money spent on basics that isn’t just sustaining the unemployed families, it is being spent at grocery stores, for health care and other basics. It is going back into an economy that keeps consumer demand for products, pays essential workers and even local and state taxes.
The costs of dealing with the turmoil of homeless families and the related issues of healthcare; childcare and nutrition will far exceed the temporary continuation of the current $600 a week to those who cannot return to work. This isn’t fancy monetary policy. It isn’t complicated economic theory. It is basic concern for hard working North Carolinians who through no fault of their own find themselves at the edge of economic collapse.
Ending the $600 benefit for 30 million Americans is a colossal mistake that will devastate families and cause even more economic havoc.
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