Tuesday, May 18, 2021

GOPs blame still-sizable unemployed instead of lazy employers not dealing with post-COVID reality

If you buy into what Wisconsin Manuacturers and Commerce are selling these days, Wisconsin’s economy is stagnating because a whole lot of people are sitting at home and refuse to work.
To help our collective members, and give a shot in the arm to Wisconsin’s economy, the undersigned trade associations are calling on your administration to return unemployment benefits in Wisconsin to what they were pre-pandemic by ending the state’s participation in the enhanced federal unemployment benefits.

It is already a difficult hiring environment for employers as they face competition from each other; they must now also compete with state and federal unemployment benefits that, if not ended by your administration, will run throughout the summer months. Workforce was the biggest challenge facing Wisconsin businesses prior to the Covid-19 downturn. Now, instead of “bouncing back” from the pandemic, the Wisconsin economy is being held back by an acute labor shortage made all the worst by government interference in the marketplace.

Through September, an individual can receive $670 per week on unemployment due to the $300 federal enhancement. That is the equivalent of $16.75 per hour. Our member employers tell us every single day that this expanded unemployment benefit is creating a strong disincentive to work and is making it harder for them to hire. We cannot afford to continue to have potential employees remaining on the sidelines while thousands of jobs are available today.
I’m sure your members do say that, WMC. Because God forbid they actually make an adjustment to a changing job market

Not surpringly, WMC’s GOP-puppets in the State Legislature are following their bosses’ leads.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Joint Finance Committee co-chairman Sen. Howard Marklein proposed legislation Tuesday that would stop paying an additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits, among other pandemic-related benefits.

"The government needs to quit competing with our local employers. We need a reset here," Marklein said at a press conference in the state Capitol.
Competition, Howie? THE HORROR!

Speaking of competition, is there anything in this GOP bill to raise the minimum wage to a “competitive” level past $7.25/hour and $2.13/hour for tipped wages? Or are GOPs asking for a major expansion in subsidized child care to lower that barrier? Of course not, which gives the game away.

What GOPs are also ignoring is that a lot of people are still out of work, both in America and in Wisconsin, and some are still losing their jobs this Spring. While it’s great news that unemployment claims are falling, they’re still twice what they were in early 2020, before COVID-19 was a thing.

These charts all compare the numbers from the last 5 weeks with the last 5 weeks before COVID started to cause unemployment claims to rise in mid-March 2020.

In fact, the amount of today's jobless claims is similar to what we had around this time in 2010, which was 6 months before Republicans swept to power in large part because the economy hadn’t recovered fast enough from the Great Recession (along with a lot of Big Lies surrounding Obamacare from RW oligarchs and corporate sleaze).

And those continuing claims numbers in 2021 don’t include the 7.3 million on PUA, or the 5.7 million on extended benefits. It's also worth noting that at this time in 2010, Congress was allowing Americans to receive up to 99 weeks of unemployment (albeit with no $300 add-on) and only 5 million were receiving those extended benefits. And now WisGOPs want to cut off unemployment benefits at just over 60 weeks.

It’s also odd to see WisGOPs claim things are so tight in the jobs market when 11 days ago these guys were jabbering about a “disappointing” April jobs report and how the recovery was stalling out with unemployment still at 6.1%. GOPs conveniently left out of that criticism the fact that unemployment went up because 430,000 more people entered the work force and only 328,000 more people (76%) ended up employed.

So which is it, WisGOP/WMC? Are job-seekers not able to find work, and the economy is being “held back”? Or are things going so great that employers can’t find anyone to handle all of the increased demand from a stimulus-fueled boom?

Or maybe…employers are too slow to adjust to a new reality in 2021, where many Americans aren’t willing to accept the lousy pay and increase their risks of catching a virus that still has a presence. And that those jobs often involve dealing with MAGAts and other obnoxious members of the public that make the jobs even less worthwhile.

That seems to be the more likely answer, and the fact that the GOP donors at the Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce didn’t sign onto that WMC BS letter shows that even those regressive clowns know it’s not “lazy workers” that are causing these jobs to stay unfilled. Instead, it’s lazy employers who aren’t paying enough in a post-COVID world.

Don't believe it's a conscious choice that employers are making? Check out who one of the "invited guests" to today's WisGOP press event was.

No comments:

Post a Comment