Letter: $600 weekly federal jobless boost unfair to essential workers

The Detroit News

Extending the weekly payment of $600 federal funds to unemployed workers is terrible policy. The huge deficit spending, as with most government spending, was poorly targeted and tremendously misused.

Initially, the reasoning behind the blunt nature of the stimulus was urgent action to bolster the economy. That argument no longer applies. An extension harms essential workers, our children and the country.

The country cannot go back to work if the CARES Act's $600 a week payment stays in place, Pensler writes.

I own a company that manufacturers household cleaning products. Our essential workers, like other essential workers, have been coming into work exposing themselves to the virus and taking home less funds than if they had been unemployed, staying at home and binge watching Netflix.

They, like all essential workers, did not have the option to stay home. Because their businesses and services were essential, they got stiffed.

Many businesses, essential and others, have been trying to hire for weeks but continue to hear the same story: “I would, but I’m making more on unemployment. I’ll talk to you when the federal program ends.”

Drive around Michigan and you’ll see help wanted signs everywhere. Why? Because it is almost impossible to hire help. People can do the math. They know it is better to stay unemployed. We are paying billions to keep people unemployed.

The country cannot go back to work if the CARES Act's $600 a week payment stays in place. We are creating an entitlement mentality, and we are burdening our children with huge deficits.

The CARES Act, while providing a safety net for the economy and many individuals, should not be expanded. It has wrecked the budget, put the dollar‘s global role as a reserve currency at risk, and stiffed most essential workers who put their lives on the line to keep our nation going.

Nationally, the average unemployment benefit is $387 with the $600 federal top, which is approximately $25 an hour with no commuting expenses. It pays to stay home.

Now the people who brought you the CARES Act want to offer people a bonus to go back to work, adding insult to injury for essential workers who have had to work all along. Further, the government has burdened the economy with huge subsidies to businesses whose models are no longer appropriate in the COVID and post-COVID world.

The American economic model needs creative destruction to realign capital and workers in fields providing goods and services people want. The American economy has traditionally rewarded work and placed capital in businesses that provide goods and services for people based on their choices. Congress is doing its best to destroy this model. Both parties are at fault.

Any politician who supports this destruction for personal benefit or naiveté should be removed from office. We can rise to the challenge if the politicians get out of the way and let people work. 

Sandy Pensler, president of Pensler Capital

owner, the Korex Corporation