Big move here by Gov. Lee.
There are plenty of jobs, he says, and we're a federalist society, by God (as they say in Tennessee), and we already have state unemployment, and we don't need all that federal guvmint helicopter money stopping people from working and thereby crushing small businesses in every town and city in his state.
Tennessee is withdrawing from a $300 weekly unemployment supplement program, a decision by Gov. Bill Lee that comes as many Republicans argue the additional funds allow low-wage workers to make more money while staying at home.
Lee informed the U.S. Department of Labor of the decision Tuesday, joining several other Southern states in refusing the additional payments for unemployed people.
The federal unemployment assistance programs will end in Tennessee on July 3, Lee wrote to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.
In addition to the $300 supplement, Tennessee is also ending participation in federal programs that have allowed those who don't usually qualify for benefits, such as the self-employed, to receive them, as well as an initiative that extended the payments once regular unemployment benefits expired.
Tennessee pays up to $275 weekly for unemployed individuals, ranking it among the lowest in the country and significantly below the national average of $387.
Combined with the current $300 supplement — a drop from a $600 federal supplement offered last year — Tennesseans receiving unemployment benefits are now receiving around $575 weekly, the equivalent of $14.38 per hour for a 40-hour week. The federal minimum wage, which hasn't been raised in more than a decade, is $7.25 per hour.
While The Tennessean, by the way it worded its reporting, made clear to its readers that it does not like the governor's decision, that last line quoted above is a doozy. Yes, right now in Tennessee — as is the case is most (all?) states in America — you can literally earn twice as much for not working and receiving unemployment welfare than you can for working a minimum-wage job.
As The Tennessean made sure to point out, TN's state unemployment benefits are "among the lowest in the country" ... but, despite that, when you combine it with the federal Covid stimulus unemployment checks, it equals absolutely zero reason for anyone in the state to work an entry-level position.
I don't know if you know this, but low-wage jobs are vital to our country's economy. They're also vital to our country's people. Low-wage jobs are how you learn the vital skills and work ethic that will propel you to medium-wage jobs. And you go from there. And then you keep going. I'd need more than the two hands I've got to count all the entry-level jobs I've worked in my life. This is a crucial part of our system here, folks.
Oh, you have no experience and no special skills and yet you think you're "above" working a minimum wage job? You're not. Holy crap. Get your butt to work and earn a living. Work your keister off, do better than everyone else, and you'll rise quickly. This is not some empty platitude. Most businesses love nothing more than to reward workers who dare to take their job seriously and outperform. This is how businesses succeed!
But WHY would anyone go work a crappy low-wage job when the government will pay them LITERALLY TWICE AS MUCH to NOT have a job?
Some still do it, sure, because they're honorable people who want to earn their keep and don't want a handout. I respect those people more than I can say. And when this dual pandemic of Covid and Government Hyper-Welfare passes over us, those people will be better off, more experienced, harder-working, higher up, and higher paid.
If the idea of cutting off "free" federal money (it's not free, by any stretch of the imagination) sounds insane to you, let me suggest that you go start a small business and get a taste of how the world actually works.
The current weather in America — "cloudy with 100% chance of raining federal cash on everyone's head" — is not sustainable. And there are plenty of jobs to be had in the Tennessee right now (jobs that are going unfilled presently because of Covid cash). Of course, there will also still be state unemployment, just like before Covid. Lee is simply stopping the flow of extra cash from the federales.
And it's the right call, if you ask me. Major props to Gov. Lee of the great state of Tennessee.
P.S. Now check out our latest video: What the heck is wrong with Kamala Harris? ⤵️