By Kate Robinson
As if forgiving student loan debt was not generous enough, President Joe Biden is paying Americans’ bills yet again. This time, it is through his recently enacted $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which includes such a significant level of handouts of federal unemployment benefits that businesses across the United States are struggling to find people to hire.
Forget any so-called “rescue.” This progressive piece of legislation is shaping up to be nothing more than another FDR-style New Deal package. It sounds good, but it is really just one of the Democratic Party’s classic, power-hungry handouts in disguise.
FDR’s New Deal reshaped the political left, leading future Democrats like Biden to believe that a high level of government oversight is reasonable and even accepted in the United States. The New Deal opened the door for potential long-term damage to the fundamental strength of our economy and society. Now, Biden’s American Rescue Plan will finish the job, so long as he continues down the same path as his predecessor.
During FDR’s term in the midst of the Great Depression, the unemployment rate peaked at 25.6 percent. But, instead of telling Americans to stay home, FDR encouraged them to find jobs. In fact, he even went so far as to create jobs for people. Sure, it is easy to believe that FDR’s vast implementation of government programs was beneficial to the economy, but really, it is the same as Biden’s approach – just more subtle and positioned differently. Incentivizing Americans to stay home is even more destructive than FDR’s temporary and artificial job policies from 100 years ago.
The unemployment payments today are so high that they are equivalent to someone making $15.95 an hour during a 40-hour work week. It looks like Biden has finally figured out a way to raise the minimum wage after all.
According to The New York Post, unemployed people are currently receiving $300 per week from the federal government, plus approximately $320 more in state benefits. This averages to about $638 per week, which means that someone can make $30,624 per year by just sitting at home. Biden is paying people to stay on their couch, leaving governors to fight against his backward policy with their own incentives to get people back to work.
Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey, for instance, announced last week that he plans to pay people $2,000 to return to work and that he is no longer accepting federal money starting July 10. Montana’s Republican governor, Greg Gianforte, recently announced a similar plan. Any unemployed individual who accepts a job and maintains it for at least a month will earn a bonus from the federal unemployment grants. While both of these are still not ideal approaches, they are better than knowingly running the economy into the ground, which Biden is doing very well. The Labor Department reported last month that employers added 266,000 new jobs to the market (a significant and disappointing decline), leaving approximately 7.4 million positions open. Both numbers are obvious signs that the economy is ready and has room to grow, and probably would be growing at a very quick pace, if it were not for Biden incentivizing Americans to stay home.
If he were around today, FDR would surely agree with Biden’s attempts to keep the economy in the government’s grasp. In fact, it was FDR himself who masterminded the idea of big government. And now, Biden is taking it to the extreme.
FDR favored unions, Biden has passed legislation to increase their power; FDR implemented the federal minimum wage, Biden has just figured out a way to effectively raise it; FDR wanted government control, Biden has cleverly concocted a way to kill small businesses, forcing a majority of Americans to rely on government support from cradle to grave.
While some may find the American Rescue Plan to be a suitable piece of legislation to help ease the country out of the artificial depression caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns, others know that – like FDR – President Biden does not really care about our families, jobs, homes, education, nor livelihood, as he so claims. Instead, he simply wants us to rely on the government (and, more specifically, Democrat politicians), and the surest way to do that is to keep Americans dependent and docile.
A Newer Deal, indeed.
Ms. Robinson is a freshman at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication and a columnist for The Hesperian.