There seems to be a rather cold-hearted calculation on the part of the Republicans that if they lower the amount of unemployment compensation offered to unemployed people, then people will have to go back to work. As it is, they figure, people are enjoying their unemployment too much. They’re unreasonably happy. So the Republicans propose that the coverage be lowered by quite a bit, so that people will have to go back to work whether or not it’s safe or wise to do so.

To get people back to work they also figure that schools have to open. They want to do this in order for parents to be able to return to work. I haven’t heard much about doing it for the well being of the kids.

There are several flaws in these calculations. For one thing, people may want to stay out of work because they don’t want to catch and spread the COVID virus. They may want to do their part to “flatten the curve” and keep the virus from getting totally out of control.

Even if people want to go back to work, the jobs may be gone. There may be no work to go back to. Many small businesses will fail if their income is so reduced.

Also, if people get this extra benefit, they’re likely to spend it. And when they spend it, those businesses that are still open, those that we deem “essential,” stand a better chance of surviving,

Cutting off that influx of money into the whole economy may set in motion a downward spiral that will paralyze the economy for a long time to come.


Abby Shahn


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