U.S. $600 Unemployment Aid Comes to Its End, Americans React

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by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
U.S. $600 Unemployment Aid Comes to Its End, Americans React
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Republicans have kicked against an extension of the U.S. $600 unemployment boost. They referred to it as “disincentive to work.”

Republicans have unified against the U.S. $600 boost to weekly unemployment checks to U.S. citizens. The $600 weekly payment, initiated as a part of the federal relief package amid the coronavirus pandemic, ended last Friday. Despite Democrats’ desire to extend the payments, Republican lawmakers stood against it and referred to the payments as “disincentive to work.”

In March, the U.S. President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. This president’s move was to prevent the US economy from the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The relief bill included one-time payments to individuals, strengthened unemployment insurance, additional healthcare funding, and business assistance by providing loans and grants. At that time, unemployment in the U.S. increased to over 3 million due to the global pandemic.

U.S. $600 Unemployment Checks

With the $2 trillion stimulus package, a CNN report revealed that the U.S. government will give unemployed Americans an extra $600 weekly, in addition to their state benefits, for four months. According to the Labor Department, about 30 million Americans received the $600 unemployment benefits as of July. In June, a study suggested that Americans may need an additional stimulus package to properly keep them afloat.

However, the $600 aid ended on July 31st as Republicans believe the payment is a discouragement to work. In an interview on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the payment was discouraging workers from resuming work. He also said some workers now receive more than they did while fully employed. Mnuchin also said:

“There’s no question, in certain cases where we’re paying people more to stay home than to work, that’s created issues in the entire economy.”

Because of the argument against the Unemployment Insurance (UI), some Yale economists assessed the claim in a research effort. With the use of weekly data from Homebase, the researchers concluded that the unemployment benefits did not reduce employment. According to the report:

“We find no evidence that more generous benefits disincentivized work either at the onset of expansion or as firms looked to return to business over time.”

Americans’ React as Unemployment Aid Ends

Last month, a coupon website, CouponLawn, surveyed over a thousand unemployed Americans in light of the $600 unemployment insurance. As reported by CouponLawn, 49% of the unemployed Americans believed their finances would be at very high risk after the relief ends. 39% described the end as a medium risk to their finances, while 12% described it as low risk. 

Referring to the effect of the stimulus expiration, Couponlawn revealed that about 30% of Americans might run into massive debts. The analysis also said that over 15% of affected workers might lose motivation, discouraging them from working. As analyzed by CouponLawn, 5% of these affected persons may become suicidal, from an inability to settle basic bills.

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