Commerce Secretary Refutes Notion That Unemployment Relief Impedes Job Growth | Talking Points Memo

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Sunday pushed back on the idea that unemployment relief is hurting the job market as Republican governors begin slashing jobless benefits in their states, arguing that the move would force more people to return to work.

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["…the idea that unemployment relief is hurting the job market as Republican governors begin slashing jobless benefits in their states, arguing that the move would force more people to return to work…"]

Starve 'em…get 'em to hate more…That’s the Ticket.


This is ridiculous. This is just a reframe of the old GOP anti-welfare argument.


Really interested in learning what more data will tell us on this. During one of our company’s regular oversight meetings, a department VP was reporting difficulty with hiring new staff, and she said straight out that it was due to federal unemployment benefits, and that “no one wants to go back to work.” I was appalled and wondered how that went over with the rest of the folks on the call. Talking like that (voicing political opinions, as well laying blame like that, AND badmouthing your potential workforce!) is NOT part of our company culture, I’m happy to say.


Absolutely. It’s the reactionaries go to on anything that helps people.
Of course, if they told the truth – that they and their sponsors don’t want to pay anything to help others – they couldn’t garner as much sympathy as they can by creating an implicit contrast with the the “lazy.”


Gee, don’t suppose companies could offer things like living wages that are better than unemployment benefits to encourage people to get back into the workforce.

We never really did away with the slavery mentality in America, we just exchanged it for exploitation of the working class with nominal wages that are never quite enough to get by.


Low pay is hurting Job Growth.


Instead, Raimondo pointed to the fear of COVID-19 or the inability to find childcare as key reasons for why people aren’t able to go back to work.

Not only are Republican policies heartless, they’re also not based in reality. Lack of government support for childcare in the US is a major problem and puts us in the company of third world countries on this issue. If we solve this, we remove a major impediment for workers, especially women, to enter the workforce.

Having said that, what does it say about our society when unemployment insurance ( basically the least amount of money necessary for sustenance) is highly competitive with prevailing wages?


They are ungrateful and won’t take the wages I offer, why should I pay more. Isn’t that what they are saying? Why should I have to offer higher wages, they should be happy to get any job.


Well I think office culture is an ingredient in this mix - people got out of their offices for almost a year and while everyone wasn’t thrilled with working on ZOOM, they did get a chance to rethink that office culture. It purely sucks, in my view.

Plus schools are not exactly running as usual yet and a lot of women haven’t gone back to work and may not.


Offices will be back to “normal” by the end of the year, maybe with a few bones thrown in for part-time telework.

Still too many of the senior leadership out there who believes that productivity is tied to people they can see in person putting in the hours vice outcomes-based evaluation.

I’ve run into a few over the years. Didn’t seem to matter to them if they saw employees chatting with colleagues all day long about non-work stuff, but heaven forbid an employee request to work from home to complete a project in peace and quiet.


God damn it, I chose a type of work that had to be done face to face because so many creative jobs were getting outsourced overseas and so forth. And then whoopsie it turns out sustained indoor contact is how you get covid. I basically haven’t worked in a year. I don’t want an unemployment check. I want to do the challenging work I fucking chose for myself. So every one of you bloodsucking Republicans saying this bullshit can go to hell and in the immortal words of Clarence Day Sr. I hope you sizzle there.


We also have the on/off valve with unemployment that other countries don’t. Make a dollar, you’re out of it and losing money. Other places wean people off over certain levels, so getting a low-wage job in the interim doesn’t just cut you off.


In addition to the obvious issues about safety and lack of demand (let’s see offered wages go up) there’s also an ongoing question about skill mismatch. The economy is not coming back in exactly the shape it fell apart, nor are job reappearing in the order in which they disappeared. So quite sensibly, a lot of people are doing their best not to throw away 10-30 years of skills and hireability in sectors where jobs haven’t come back yet. They’re freelancing or taking part-time gigs or just plain waiting things out, rather than commit to new jobs where their decades worth of experience and specialized skills will be thrown away.

And in the long run that’s probably a good thing for the economy. Because if/when those specialized jobs come back, you want people filling them who are already good at them, not people who are going to have to spend months to years getting up to speed. What would be nice would be some sense of which jobs are going to be coming back and which aren’t, and then help for the people who still do have to ditch their former skills. But that would be socialism.


Seeing a lot of stories that it’s hitting the hospitality industry (restaurants, hotels and the like) the hardest.

Gee, the people who have exploited folks for years and underpayed labor are whining that nobody wants to come back and work for them…


Turnover is already high in those industries so they should have had a clue that they might not have the personnel when things opened back up.


Why not come back and work at tipped-employee wages when the house is half empty or worse?


$2.13 is more than enough for a can of tuna and a half cup of rice.

Fucking whiny-ass workers with their demands. Should be grateful that the elite even deign to give them jobs after they rejected indentured servitude and slavery as full-benefits options to survive.


1935 is when the unemployment insurance program was established. 1933 is the date that is used for when the Great Depression ended. It seems like no one on the Republican side has learned anything since then.

I was going to mention this PBS program in another context Asian History I never knew, but it does have a bit about work, money, and the Great Depression.

as always check your local listings.


This is an article about the restaurant industry, but it really gives more concrete examples of why people don’t want to go back to work. A desire to work in a safe environment and inability to live on the wages being paid are certainly at the top of the list.