Recent chatter on Capitol Hill has me questioning what is happening to the great American meritocracy that, through challenging times, still enabled us to become the biggest, most successful, economy in the world.
The $600 weekly checks from Uncle Sam have officially ended, and although negotiations for a replacement program are currently at a standstill, the odds of a renewal are quite high. I recognize the need to help people now. I respect that and believe it’s the right thing to do…however, how long does this last? Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders introduced a bill this Spring to give $2000 a month handouts indefinitely, or until three months after then Covid-19 dangers have subsided. (Good luck figuring that out in Congress.) In other words, we run the risk that these benefits, which are supposed to be temporary, become another entitlement we cannot afford. The long term effects of that would be significant…and devastating.
Consider it. $600 a week. Or $500 via the Sanders, Harris proposal. Handouts from the federal government. Last I checked, there was a name for that…
In March, granted, that there was a reason for it. People were unceremoniously and unexpectedly cut off. The government prevented Americans from earning a living. It was truly one of the most troubling times in modern history and the government’s reaction will be debated and scrutinized for decades. Now, as the economy reopens, we need to be extraordinarily thoughtful about how we help those that need it…while simultaneously not discouraging those who don’t need assistance from seeking a job. There needs to be a plan to return to normal. Yet, the more we give away money, the less likely it is that we can stop. Why bother returning to work if the government is paying you more money to stay home? Safety nets are important however, we must find a way to keep them for those that most need assistance while still encouraging the young, healthy parts of the workforce to be as productive as possible.
This is not an easy balance.
An indefinite $400-$600 a week stipend is effectively the kind of basic income that the socialists on the left actively promote. And, clearly we are at risk for a socialist agenda. After all, a socialist from Vermont nearly became the Democratic presidential nominee. This, while “progressive” like Alexandra Occasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, and Ilhan Omar are currently holding Joe Biden and other party elites effectively hostage to their own vision for a socialist utopia in America…no matter the economic cost to our country.
After all, there is something fundamentally un-American about extending unemployment benefits indefinitely to able bodied people who are not at risk and could otherwise find work. Too many business owners complain that they can’t find workers because the federal government is paying more than a given business can afford. Indeed, 68% of jobless Americans surveyed by University of Chicago reported making more money staying at home during the pandemic than they did at their respective jobs.
Handouts are the antithesis of the work ethic on which our country was founded and, if we’re not thoughtful about them and how they’re administered, we may soon embark on a downward socialism spiral similar to the failed stories of Venezuela, Cuba and other miserable economies.
So, here’s an idea: why not help those that most need it while encouraging the rest of our society–those not in high risk categories–to find a way back to work? We’re a resilient society. We’re a creative society. We have a work ethic and we can manage this, if given the chance.
Remember, the key to success has always been and, I hope, always will be our economy. We can build it again. Let’s employ our entrepreneurial spirit, our work ethic, and our creativity to recreate the greatest economy in the world. Politics be damned.