U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is the latest Florida Republican to suggest that employers can’t hire because unemployment benefits are too fat.
On a Wednesday appearance on Fox and Friends, Florida’s senior Senator joined his junior colleague in expressing concern about overly attractive jobless benefits hampering the economic recovery.
“A lot of people are having trouble re-hiring workers because the workers are saying to them ‘I’m making more on unemployment,’” Rubio said. “Not everybody, most people would prefer to have a job obviously, but that’s an issue we’re hearing reports about.”
When asked, Rubio’s communications staff would not assign an actual numeric value to what “most” means, instead saying that many businesses are complaining that federal payments are more than what they pay.
Rubio followed the lead of Sen. Rick Scott in questioning whether some rendered jobless because of the pandemic and associated economic restrictions are just disincentivized to get back to work.
“If given the chance to make more on a government program than in a job, some will make the rational and reasonable decision to delay going back to work, hampering our economic recovery,” Scott, a Naples Republican and former Florida Governor, tweeted Tuesday.
The subject of Scott’s ire was a tweet from the Wall Street Journal.
WSJ noted that, with $600 of weekly pandemic unemployment assistance added to the weekly stipend for the jobless, the nation’s unemployed would bring in nearly $1,000 weekly.
“This is a big problem that I’ve been warning about for weeks now,” Scott, whose net worth is roughly $255 million at last count, added.
In an editorial for Fox News, Scott refined that argument, saying enhanced unemployment benefits mean “workers could make more money by not working than they would make if they had a job.”
Florida benefits are capped at $275 for 12 weeks, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has shown no indication to expand them. However, a $600 pandemic unemployment assistance pay out from the federal government would make that money add up to a living wage.
Such short-term security may bring comfort to the jobless. But for both Sens. Rubio and Scott, downside risks are evident in ways they aren’t to those on the ground.