RALEIGH – The N.C. Senate has passed House Bill 128, An Act to Reemploy NC’s Workforce, that would offer $1500 bonuses to the unemployed for finally rejoining the workforce, a.k.a. a bribe to accept a job instead of mooching benefits.
One might presume that an unemployed individual, amid a spiraling Pandemic Panic, rising prices, and economic uncertainty, would make an effort to become reemployed as expeditiously as possible. They’d scrape and scratch to land a job, to make ends meet with out taking hand outs for any longer than necessary.
That is exactly the approach of many who are unfortunate enough to lose their livelihood and reluctantly filing for unemployment benefits. Of course, many people take an altogether different approach. With the advent of extraordinarily generous hand outs from the MMT administrators in DC, a lot of those on the dole have been content to just sit back and become quite picky (or outright averse) when it comes to accepting offers for employment.
And those offers are numerous, as employers shout from the roof tops that they need workers. This proposal of reemployment bonuses in this bill is lawmakers’ way of getting those couch potatoes over the hump, and off the dole.
All Republican senators, save one who was absent, voted for this couch potato bonus.
It is a practical idea, an extra incentive to get back to work and off the dole. But sweetening the pot for people who have until now merely been mooching benefits while turning down work and skipping interviews is about as insulting as it gets to those who took responsibility and, perhaps, swallowed some pride to provide for their family in a job that’s less than ideal.
Not to mention all the taxpayers, producers, and consumers who foot these bills. Yes, these are federal funds. No, that doesn’t mean free money. For one, North Carolinians are federal taxpayers. Moreover, the inflation from such hyper spending in DC will tax all of us in pervasive ways. North Carolina is in a solid fiscal position, and there is a strong argument that we should actually give the COVID federal funds back.
To be clear, House Bill 128 also re-institutes work search requirements for those filing for weekly benefits. They’ll have to attest to actively seeking work, respond to interview requests, and if they refuse ‘acceptable’ job offers it will result in suspended benefits. That’s good policy; it provides incentive to rejoin the workforce and discourages mooching.
Unfortunately that is all wrapped up in a Machiavellian cash giveaway that rewards those that have until now (or 60 days from now) refused to work in an environment teeming with job openings. Having passed the Senate, the bill now goes to the N.C. House, where hopefully there are lawmakers willing to call the bonus provision for what it is, and squash it.