Last week, the April jobs report was published and it was terrible, falling insanely short of the one million new jobs that had been estimated.
Before getting into what the Biden administration had to say about the report and its implications for the economy, let's review a few basic details:
- Only 266,000 jobs were added in April, stunning experts who had predicted much higher numbers.
- The unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.1%.
- Despite this, there are 7.4 million job openings in the nation and companies are struggling to find workers.
- Congress approved another round of unemployment payments as part of the most recent stimulus that gives people an extra $300/week on top of state unemployment. In Michigan, where I live, that could work out to $662/week or $34,424/year.
With this in mind, here was Biden's response to the claim that people aren't returning to work because they're being paid more to stay home:
"Americans want to work." Really? Because the numbers are showing the opposite of that.
As to his claim that there isn't enough evidence to support such a theory, may I present a takedown from Allie Beth Stuckey:
Based on your understanding of human nature, I'll leave you to determine if a cash incentive to stay home playing PS5 is something people would gladly take.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki took flak from Fox News' Peter Doocy – pretty much the only White House correspondent asking serious questions at this point – for Biden's claim that the jobs report has nothing to do with government welfare.
Watch the exchange:
- The question: "How does the White House know that people aren't just choosing not to apply for jobs because the extra unemployment benefits are so good?"
- The "answer" given: "Our analysis shows that lack of vaccination, the lower rate, which is why I referred to the data the week that it was taken, it has an impact. Child care has an impact. Schools reopening has an impact. But there is also the need to pay a livable, working wage."
According to her logic, people aren't returning to work because:
- Only 100 million people have been fully vaccinated against a disease that won't statistically harm the vast majority of healthy, working-age individuals.
- They have a family to feed (which is never an incentive to work).
- Their schools are still shut down and someone totally-not-named-Biden has been pushing for that.
- They are upset about America's lack of socialism.
Alternatively, the Biden administration wants to make everything about the latter point to fundamentally change America.
"But as Bank of America economists who were cited in a Bloomberg story say, anyone making less than $32,000 a year is better off financially just taking the unemployment benefits," Doocy continued. "So is the White House creating an incentive just to stay home?"
This, as established at the beginning of this article, is correct.
Psaki reassured Doocy that the "majority of economists internally and externally at the White House" definitely "feel" like human beings aren't creatures that respond to incentives that allow them to be lazy and financially stable at the same time.
Part of me wants to believe that in their leftist worldview, the Biden administration really believes what they are doing will strengthen the economy.