The Point

Are Unemployment Benefits Helping or Hurting?


John Stonestreet

Maria Baer

The April jobs report from the Labor Department was, to put it mildly, not good. U.S. employers filled only one-fourth of the expected one million jobs. And, that same month, unemployment claims went up.

The data, along with a growing number of anecdotes from business owners, suggests that one reason for the disappointing numbers is that many people are choosing not to work. The increased unemployment benefits during the pandemic are a disincentive.

By no means is it true that everyone on unemployment is just being lazy or gaming the system. Still, if the government pays people enough to stay home, they will. Theologian Ron Nash once put it this way, we have to help people with our heads as well as our hearts.

We know this is true when it comes to international aid, disaster relief, and efforts to alleviate poverty. It’s true in a pandemic too. Otherwise all of our helping will only, in the end, hurt.


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Patrica Cohen | The New York Times | May 7, 2021

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