A new study by Yale economists out this week debunks the repeated GOP talking point that the $600 federal expansion of unemployment benefits has disincentivized people from returning to work—findings published the same day Senate Republicans released a coronavirus relief proposal which critics condemned as an “utter disgrace” that will “unleash widespread suffering” on people nationwide.
Despite polling that shows the public popularity of the added boost—and economists warning that taking it away would spell financial catastrophe for the country—the Trump administration and GOP lawmakers who oppose an extension claim it encouraged layoffs early in the pandemic and deters people who make more from UI benefits than their former job from returning to work as businesses reopen.
The Yale study (pdf) destroys that GOP talking point. The economists examined weekly data from Homebase—a firm that provides scheduling and time clock software to small businesses—and found “no evidence that more generous benefits disincentivized work either at the onset of the expansion or as firms looked to return to business over time.”
“The data do not show a relationship between benefit generosity and employment paths after the CARES Act, which could be due to the collapse of labor demand during the Covid-19 crisis,” said co-author and Yale economics professor Joseph Altonji.
Although the Homebase data does not represent the entire U.S. labor market, as it is primarily focused on hourly workers at businesses like bars, restaurants, and retail stores, the segment of the workforce studied by the researchers has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Additionally, as Yale News noted, “the researchers tested their results against employment outcomes in the federal government’s Current Population Survey, a more representative sample of the labor market than the Homebase data, and obtained similar findings.”
The Yale study found that people with expanded unemployment benefits actually resumed working at a similar or slightly quicker rate than others did. As MarketWatch reported Wednesday:
There is more at the link above. But the evidence shows and has been shouted from the rooftops that the only thing keeping the little economy we have going was that $600 and unemployment. There is record numbers of jobs lost that will never come back. What hurts is the Democrats, the party of the people, their number two ranking member already said they don’t care about the $600 that is keeping people able to pay their bills. They are not willing to fight for it. As a family that has lost the main source of income due to Covid 19 this was helping us greatly, and we will struggle even harder without it. What is there for the lower incomes when the party of the people join with the party of wealth to cancel the everything keeping food on the table and rent paid for so many of us in the country? How can the Democratic party ask for support, and loyalty when they have none for the lower incomes. They have lost their way. That is why tRump won in 2016, and they are helping him today. Democrats, fight to change the system to a more equal wealth distribution, fight for the poor , fight for the workers, damn it fight so life is not a struggle just to survive for most of us. When we faceless cogs are gone so is your wealth. Angry hugs