More Americans tell Uncle Sam: Show me the money!

Something is amiss in America's post-pandemic economic recovery.

In April, only 266,000 jobs were created.  Economists expected that at least one million jobs would be created.

As of March, the U.S. Labor Department reports there are more than eight million unfilled jobs in the country, a record high.

The U.S. unemployment rate actually increased in April.  It climbed to 6.1 percent.  Even more ominously, the labor participation rate remains near its all-time low.  It stands at an abysmal 61.7 percent.

So what happened to the super recovery President Biden and his friends in Congress promised?  Apparently, it went the way of the dodo.

In other words, the post-pandemic recovery is on the brink before it even got started.

Why?  Well, at least one reason is that Biden, in cahoots with congressional Democrats, is making it easier than ever for Americans to stay home and shout: "Show me the money!"  And you'd better believe that Biden and friends are happy to oblige.

Since taking office, the Biden administration has made it priority number one to increase the size and scope of the federal government so that more Americans will become dependent upon Uncle Sam than ever before.

Guess what!  It is working.  Unfortunately.

And it is becoming evident on the ground in Main Street America.  For weeks, I have noticed more "Help Wanted" and "Hiring Now" signs than at any time in my adult life.  They are everywhere.

I have also spoken with scores of ordinary business-owners, managers, and employees who constantly say the same thing: "We can't find workers because the government is paying people more to not work than they would make while working."

Wait, what?  Yes, that is correct.  It is not anecdotal.  It is a fact.

Millions of Americans are "earning" more money sitting at home watching Netflix than they would make if they returned to work.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, "[t]he disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market.  We need a comprehensive approach to dealing with our workforce issues and the very real threat unfilled positions pose to our economic recovery from the pandemic.  One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit.  Based on the Chamber's analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working."

Even the New York Times is ringing the alarm bell.

In a recent article titled "Unemployment Is High. Why Are Businesses Struggling to Hire?," Times writer Neil Irwin asks: "Why work when unemployment insurance — including a $300 weekly supplement that was part of the newly enacted pandemic rescue plan — means that some people can make as much or more by not working?  And the combined $2,000-per-person cash payments enacted since late last year created a cushion people can rely on for a time.  Ample economic research shows that more generous unemployment benefits are a disincentive for people to seek or accept work." 

Unfortunately, this is a problem that isn't going away anytime soon.  The federal unemployment bonus benefits run through September.  And Biden and company are proposing a whole host of new benefits and big government programs designed to do one thing and one thing only: increase government dependence.

All said, the Biden administration is proposing more than $4 trillion in Big Government giveaways, including "free" college, "free" childcare, "free" preschool, and all other sorts of freebies.

That is a recipe for disaster.  It is also a recipe for socialism in America.

However, never forget what Margaret Thatcher said about government giveaways, AKA socialism: "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.

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