RALEIGH – Anyone that took a job this week, after weeks of drawing benefits, might have missed their chance to leverage laziness for a special bonus payment of $1500. A ‘bipartisan’ group of N.C. Senators in the Senate Commerce Committee have advanced a bill to give an extra $1500 to those that heretofore turned down all those job opportunities and walked right by all those ‘Now Hiring’ signs, in favor of staying on the dole.
It’s Republican Senator Chuck Edwards (R-Buncombe) leading this particular charge to give bonuses to couch potatoes, but Democrats in the General Assembly and Governor Roy Cooper are right there with him.
Admittedly, the impetus for the extra incentive to rejoin the workforce is tangible, as employers across sectors and industries are facing labor struggles. They simply cannot compete with supplemental unemployment benefits from Washington, D.C. and repeated stimulus payments that pay more than ever before, which also enable a person to avoid actually working for a living. It’s hard for an employer to beat that offer for obvious reasons.
You’ve likely seen the effects of this labor strain, a natural and foreseeable consequence of extraordinary policies, reflected in restaurants, hotels, retail shops, agriculture, hospitality, food processing, manufacturing, logistics, or any business that needs a critical number of workers to run efficiently.
So, the intentions here by Edwards and those voting to advance this bill might be good ones. Unfortunately, and as we’ve seen time and again with intrusive and expanding government, good intentions do not guarantee good policy. In fact, it’s most often the exact opposite.
While the business owners and local chambers of commerce lobbying lawmakers to ‘do something’ to free up labor for a strained workforce, those ‘somethings’ should not come at the expense of every North Carolina citizen that took responsibility for themselves in taking a less than ideal job in order to make ends meet during the fall out of Pandemic Panic.
Yes, the money used for the proposed bonuses would come from the federal COVID funds pouring into the state. No, that doesn’t make it a less insulting to North Carolina taxpayers that are also federal taxpayers last time we checked.
State senators are right to be responsive to the economic pains being caused directly by bad government policy. But they are wrong to address it with passing more bad government policy. Rewarding heretofore couch potatoes with thousands of dollars is woefully bad policy, and should be anathema to any Republican who takes the principles behind policy seriously.
Fortunately, this bill has not yet emerged from the N.C. Senate and, according to our sources, Republicans in the N.C. House are much cooler to the idea of bonuses for couch potatoes. They are, however, interested in removing the plush unemployment benefits that have served as an open ended competitor for workers in the North Carolina market.
The milquetoast socialism must always be pulled out by the root before it grows into the full bore socialism the Left has been working so hard to hasten.