Covid bill revives argument for returning to work

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$ 600 per week

When Congress issued a $ 600-a-week boost to unemployment benefits in the spring, the setback was quick and fierce.

The purpose of the infusion, along with typical government benefits, was to completely replace lost wages for the average worker – nearly $ 1,000 a week. (Typical government benefits usually replace half of the lost wages.)

But many workers, mostly those with lower wages, earn more while unemployed than at work.

Many conservative lawmakers disregarded the policy as a deterrent to returning to work. Such a dynamic would deter the economy from a rapid setback, they argued.

Democrats have argued that improvement is a necessity. Millions relied on income support to pay bills and put food on the table, while it was difficult to find work and that it made sense to keep people at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Numerous studies have found that the amount of $ 600 did not have a negative effect on the labor market. On the whole, it did not stop people from looking for work or getting them to work, they found. Businesses have not had any problems recruiting for jobs.

“There were not enough jobs and too many people were unemployed,” said Ioana Marinescu, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania. “It simply wasn’t a big-scale problem.”

Tug of war reappears

The supplement expired in July. Democrats wanted to expand it, but Republicans were against it.

This time, lawmakers seem to be less outspoken about their opposition, but emergency relief legislation shows, according to labor experts, it still has it in mind.

“It’s about the $ 600 business,” said Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank. “[The legislation] try to get all states to hear more about this issue. ‘

Marinescu said a $ 300 cash infusion could have a greater discouraging effect, given the improvement in the labor market from the height of the crisis. But this is not an important issue, she said, because there is still a shortage of jobs and the economy has not been in danger again to some extent.

“It’s just not that bad, and we need the stimulus,” she said.

In addition, fewer workers will exceed the full wage replacement with a $ 300 boost, which is half the CARES law grant and the same amount as a loss-making program created by President Donald Trump this summer .

According to an analysis by Ernie Tedeschi, an economist from Evercore and a former Treasury official, the typical person would replace about 85% of their salary before dismissal with an extra dollar.