One of the defining features of the modern Republican Party, in addition to overt racism and inexplicable fealty to a guy who tried to overthrow the U.S. government, is contempt for the poor and working class. But wait, you say! I thought Republicans are the party of the working class and it’s elitist Democrats who thumb their noses at such people. It’s true that the GOP talks a big game about caring about regular old middle-class Americans, but in reality it despises them. How do we know this? For one thing, Republican policies overwhelmingly benefit corporate America and the very wealthy. For another, Republican lawmakers actively try to strip any government benefits they can from people not lucky enough to earn $200,000 a year at the age of three.
Most recently, a bunch of Republican governors have decided that the unemployed in their states are lazy bums who don’t deserve the increased federal benefits they’ve been receiving thanks to the American Rescue Plan, and that starting in June, they won’t. Per CBS News:
If this argument sounds familiar, it‘s because it’s the same recycled one Republicans regularly make about how helping people in need will disincentive them from helping themselves. The only problem is that like most things out of the mouths of Republicans of late, it’s not actually true:
Joe Biden, who apparently doesn’t subscribe to the belief that anyone receiving unemployment benefits is a lazy mooch, rejected such claims on Monday. “The line has been because of the generous unemployment benefits, that it’s a major factor in labor shortages. Americans want to work. Americans want to work,” he said. “I think the people claiming Americans won’t work even if they find a good and fair opportunity underestimate the American people.” Noting that anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a “suitable job” must take it or lose their unemployment benefits, the president reminded Republicans that there are still 8 million fewer jobs than when the COVID-19 pandemic started, and that the federal unemployment benefits have been a “lifeline” to those without work. “We’ll insist that the law is followed with respect to benefits,” Biden said. “But we’re not going to turn our backs on our fellow Americans.”
Asked by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy how the administration knows people are “just choosing not to apply for jobs,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded that there is basically no evidence that the extra unemployment benefits are “a major driver in people not rejoining the work force,” but rather that people may not be rejoining the workforce due to factors like vaccination rates, a lack of childcare, and school reopenings, plus that pesky little thing about employers needing to pay an actual “livable working wage.”
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