Here in Iowa, businesses are struggling to find employees, even though it is safe to return to work and we have enough people unemployed to fill the job openings that currently exist. This is due to the American Rescue Plan that President Joe Biden’s administration pushed and signed into law. The Federal relief package extends unemployment payments until September, but instead of incentivizing people to stay home, we need to get people back to work so we can get our economy back on track. Small businesses in Iowa do not have until September, especially if they must close their doors due to a lack of staff. We have already lost too many small businesses due to the pandemic; we are only losing more by creating bad incentives to stay home.
Governor Reynolds recently announced that Iowa will end the state’s participation in the federal unemployment payments because of the strength of Iowa’s economy, stating: “Our unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent, vaccines are available to anyone who wants one, and we have more jobs available than unemployed people,” Reynolds said. “Regular unemployment benefits will remain available, as they did before the pandemic, but it’s time for everyone who can to get back to work. This country needs to look to the future, and Iowa intends to lead the way.” (Sourced: The Iowa Standard). Governor Reynolds is spot on with this assessment, but unfortunately there is a new echo chamber talking point that exists within this topic.
Critics of Governor Reynolds’ bold stance are now using their new echo chamber’s talking point, which is not actually so new: “If businesses paid more, they would have employees.” This is a stab at the minimum wage discussion that has taken the forefront of the Democratic party’s policy agenda since about 2015-2016. Unfortunately, this talking point only makes sense if you are in their echo chamber and it sounds nice when everyone is repeating it. The average Iowan is much smarter than any echo chamber however, so when you look at the issue of unemployment in Iowa, it is easy to see that most small businesses have been offering a higher pay and incentives to just go through the application process. If the desire for businesses to pay higher wages is the driving factor keeping people home, then the issue of unemployment would have already been solved. The fact of the matter is that people are staying home because they are paid to stay home. Why would you go to work if the government paid you to stay home, made sure you could not be evicted, and sent you stimulus checks every time your bills start to go into the red zone?
The people who are staying home are not to blame. The American Rescue Plan is to blame and that was predicted long before it was passed. Iowans need less bad policy decisions coming from Washington D.C., not more of them. It sounds, and even feels nice, when these policies take care of some of our bills, help us buy things for ourselves, or even allows us to payoff personal debt – but the grim reality is that one bad policy leads to more bad policies.
Will the American Rescue Plan be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? With the excess spending to achieve these unemployment payments, as well as everything Joe Biden’s administration wants to achieve; we are staring at what could be the worst possible depression of our lifetime and eventually the money D.C. continues to print and spend will become utterly worthless. Because of this, we should applaud Governor Reynolds’ bold stance and we should continue to encourage her to keep taking the right stances for Iowa!