A bleak jobs report released today shows “that U.S. employers cut 20.5 million jobs in April, or nearly all of the 22 million jobs added in the past decade” reported the Wall Street Journal. A decade of economic achievement simply gone, in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, that may only be the beginning of our nation’s tragic story.
Up next will be battling humanity’s worst characteristics: greed and laziness. Now that citizens have gotten a taste of free handouts from the government, there may be no going back. As the Wall Street Journal states, “businesses looking for a quick return to normal are running into a big hitch: workers on unemployment benefits are reluctant to give them up.”
Individual stories vary from enjoying receiving larger checks from the government than they received from their old jobs, the lack of taxable income or not having to pay for childcare. Whatever the reason may be, getting the workforce back up and running could be our greatest challenge.
The Wall Street Journal shares one single story of a bartender which clearly lays out the mentality of what employers are up against. Ilona Luce-Fina was laid off from her job as a bartender at the Ithaca, New York airport due to COVID. “I was crying at work to leave, but then as time went on and I did receive benefits, it was like, wow, I’m getting more than when I worked there,” said Luce-Fina.
Luce-Fina was paid $12.50 an hour as a bartender, but with the March stimulus package that beefed-up unemployment benefits by $600/week, she has received two weekly payments of $816 since being laid off March 26. It’s no surprise that Luce-Fina admits she hopes she does not hear from her employer to offer her job back.
CNBC released an article about a Washington State spa owner who is facing backlash from her employees for trying to make sure they can keep their jobs. Jamie Black-Lewis was thrilled to receive not one, but two forgivable loans with the Paycheck Protection Program worth $177,000 and $43,000 for her two spas. Black-Lewis was devastated to have to suspend pay for her 35 employees, as well as her own salary prior to receiving the loans.
Once the stimulus checks came through to allow Black-Lewis the ability to continue to pay her employees, she was shocked at the response. “When Black-Lewis convened a virtual employee meeting to explain her good fortune, she expected jubilation and relief that paychecks would resume in full even though the staff – primarily hourly employees – couldn’t work” according to CNBC.
Unfortunately, Black-Lewis was received with “a firestorm of hatred about the situation” she said. Under the CARES Act, businesses such as Black-Lewis’ have until June 30 to rehire laid-off or furloughed workers. Unfortunately, she is struggling to obey the guidelines as “anger from employees” have “determined they’d make more money by collecting unemployment benefits than their normal paychecks.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Black-Lewis who recognized that in the eyes of her employees she was taking away money from them. “On what planet am I competing with unemployment?” These examples show the very danger that comes from government handouts, subsidies, and bailouts which essentially equates to socialism. And that could prove to be more deadly than a viral pandemic.