Joe Biden got confused today while reading the teleprompter and began mixing up his words before finally getting back on track. I think:
It sounds like he was trying to say unemployment wasn’t a major factor, but I’m not really sure.
Because at another point, he seems to be suggesting it is…
.@POTUS: "We're going to make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits."
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 10, 2021
This was actually a better statement from Biden and is along the lines of what should happen in order to get people back into the workforce. But there’s a problem with this logic. If people aren’t out there applying for jobs, how will they enforce this? In order to get offered a job, one has to be looking and submitting applications.
The only way to force people to look is to put a deadline on the unemployment checks or mandate that in order to continue receiving them they must be looking for work. Here is what the White House website says about this one provision Biden was talking about:
Clarifying Rules of UI Programs: The Department of Labor will clarify that, under all UI programs including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program put in place last year, workers may not turn down a job due to a general, non-specific concern about COVID-19 and continue to receive benefits. Under the PUA program, a worker may receive benefits if the worker certifies weekly that one of the few specific COVID-related reasons specified by Congress is the cause of their unemployment. These reasons include, for example, that the worker has a child at home who cannot go to school because of the pandemic or that the worker is offered a job at a worksite that is out of compliance with federal or state health requirements. Moreover, workers may not misreport a COVID-related reason for unemployment. The President is directing the Department of Labor to take concrete steps to raise awareness about these and other requirements.
While that’s somewhat weak, it is in the right direction. The administration really needs to push states to allow kids back into schools and take away this child-at-home caveat under the PUA. That alone would make it much stronger.