If $300 a week keeps applicants away, there’s a bigger story at play

I don’t buy the argument that an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits is keeping people from looking for work because now they supposedly have got it so good.

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Opinion

May 14, 2021 - 3:26 PM

I don’t buy the argument that an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits is keeping people from looking for work because now they supposedly have got it so good.

But if that is the case, then the focus should be on the industries unwilling to pay a living wage. 

Susan Lynn, Register editor

Obviously, that’s not a very popular point to be making among some. 

Conservative politicians, in fact, are calling for an end to the pandemic stipend approved earlier this year by Congress, even though it extends only another three months.

Sen. Roger Marshall along with Reps. Ron Estes, Tracey Mann and Jake LaTurner have requested Gov. Laura Kelly to stop the state’s participation in the federal relief immediately. 

“Small businesses are still struggling to keep their doors open because the government is paying people to stay home instead of work,” according to Estes.

LaTurner’s two cents is that, “Policies championed by Democrats that embrace permanent welfare will dramatically thin our workforce, cripple small businesses, and rob capable individuals of the dignity that comes with hard work.”

First off, the pandemic-related benefits are not “permanent welfare.” We’re talking about months, not years.

To say that the benefits are “robbing” people of their dignity is insulting. What’s robbing people of their dignity is being paid a substandard wage.

Second, to say that the benefits are “robbing” people of their dignity is insulting. What’s robbing people of their dignity is being paid a substandard wage. 

Pay a respectable wage, provide full-time work and benefits, and treat employees as human beings instead of a commodity and see what happens. 

These same politicians also might want to stroll down Main Street before they get all out of sorts about unemployment benefits being a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Plain and simple, our local economies are humming.

Working or not, people are spending this cash in their wallets, helping our local businesses recover. 

Without the extra stipends, both segments would suffer. 

MY HOPE is that this hiring crunch has industries realizing they have to compete for employees and use this as an opportunity for needed change.

A job is more than just showing up for work. For some it requires finding childcare, transportation as well as health considerations.

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