The unemployment rate in 22 states that have or are set to cut enhanced federal unemployment benefits early is declining at a significantly quicker rate than states that have opted to keep the extra money until the program ends, according to The Wall Street Journal.
President Biden initially signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package into law on March 11. The package included a $1,400 stimulus check and a subsequent weekly $300 unemployment supplement which is scheduled to end in September. However, 22 states have decided to opt out of the supplement due to concerns that the weekly stimulus disincentivized people from rejoining the workforce. According to the analysis, these states are seeing faster declines in the amount of people receiving unemployment benefits.
According to an analysis cited by Business Insider, by June 12, the number of people who “received unemployment benefits had declined by 13.8%” as compared to mid-May – specifically within states where the governor had said that the benefits would end in June. This percentage drops to 10% for states that have decided to end benefits in July and 5.7% for states that will keep the supplement until the program ends in September.
The first such state to end the program was Missouri on June 12, where Gov. Mike Parson explained that, though the federal benefits were initially welcomed when the pandemic was in full force, their “continuation has instead worsened the workforce issues” that the state faced. This is somewhat backed up by an estimate from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco which suggested that the “reduced supplement likely had small but noticeable effects on job search and worker availability in early 2021.” The Bank determined in the report that the $300 supplement would cause one in seven to decline a job offer.
The move made by states to back out of the program early come with the support of a slim majority of the country, according to a poll of 2,600 people conducted by The New York Times and Momentive. The poll found that 52% of respondents said that the $300 per week unemployment benefit should end immediately. This compares to 30% who want the benefits to last until September and 16% who say that the supplement should continue indefinitely. The poll was heavily split along partisan lines, with 80% of Republicans, 50% of independents and just 27% of Democrats desiring to end the program.
Throughout our country’s history, its citizens have been active members of their community – including the workforce. Even before the Fall of Man, God commissioned Adam to work in the Garden (Genesis 2:15), and God still calls us – in everything we do – to be model workers and citizens wherever He has placed us (1 Corinthians 10:31). While this does not mean that the truly needy should not receive government assistance, it is both an American and a biblical principle to earn one’s own living. One of the roles of government is to lift up and support the helpless – not to create more dependence on it.
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