These have been strange days indeed. Apparently our governor, Roy Cooper, has enough time on his hands to go work the drive-thru at a local Chick-fil-A.
The GOP establishment has been running away as fast as it can from social issues for years. Now, the GOPe appears to be ditching the whole fiscal conservatism thingie:
Giving bonuses to North Carolina’s unemployment benefit recipients who get a job soon would help both business struggling to fill vacancies and residents who need a nudge to return to work, Republican lawmakers said Tuesday.
The state Senate voted 35-10 for legislation that would provide $1,500 to people who accept reemployment within 30 days of the bonus program starting. The bonus would drop to $800 if they begin employment on or after 30 days but before 60 days.
The bonuses would come from federal funds that have raised individual unemployment benefits by $300 per week during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the one-time payments won’t happen unless the U.S. Department of Labor allows the state to use the money that way. That can’t occur unless Congress first passes its own law permitting such use, said Sen. Chuck Edwards, a Henderson County Republican and chief proponent of the bill.
Edwards said he’s worried the supplemental benefits on top of state payments are acting as a disincentive for people to return to work at a time when the economy is ready to surge as the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs and employers can’t attract applicants.
“I’m not going to analyze the precise cause and effect, but let’s face it, it is easier to not work than it is to work,” Edwards said. “I believe there is a percentage of the population that’s gotten comfortable and gotten out of the habit of looking for a job … and it’s going to take something to energize them.”
The bill now goes to the House, which hasn’t yet voted on such a measure.
U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., who attended a Legislative Building news conference with Edwards on Tuesday, has filed a bill in Congress that would offer $900 bonuses nationwide to displaced workers who get hired. Unlike Edwards’ bill, the supplemental weekly benefits also would be eliminated at the same time under Budd’s bill. Those benefits are already due to run out in early September.
Why is it easier to ‘not work’? That is the real question here. Dealing with that question honestly would likely keep us from spending even more worthless money from our broke-broke federal government.
‘Help Wanted’ signs are dotting the landscape around here like dandelions. They may not be the job you want, but they’re paychecks. I can’t believe the GOP has accepted the premise that you have to pay people to get off the couch and go find a job.
Now that the pandemic is over, and jobs appear to be in abundant supply, it might just be time to cut unemployment benefits back to pre-pandemic levels.
Some Raleigh Republicans are using the excuse that they HAVE to spend this money. How about setting it aside and NOT spending it? Many of us do it in our households all the time.
Also, the GOP-controlled state House and the GOP-controlled Senate can’t agree on how much of our money to spend:
[…]On Tuesday, Cooper ended the Council of State meeting with a message to the General Assembly.
“I know a lot of you are working on the budget over in the General Assembly,” he said. “I know that the House started out at $26.4 billion and Senate at $25.5 billion and now the House [came] down to $26 billion. I want to remind both chambers that [his budget proposal] was $26.6 billion and that this is a three-way street, in order to be able to get a budget.
“We don’t want to be where we were last time,” Cooper said. “So I just want to remind people of that.”[…]
[… Senate president pro term Phil Berger] also doesn’t want to present a comprehensive budget to the House without that agreed-upon spending number.
“The last time we tried that was in 2015, at a time when we had a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican governor. And it was October before we got the budget done. So we resolved at that point in time that the first time in doing the budget is for us to agree on a spend number,” Berger said.
He said the legislature is “probably past that milepost already” of it becoming a long summer budget process.