Andy Puzder, Secretary of Labor drop out and former chief executive of CKE Restaurants, does not like the enhanced unemployed benefits. In a Washington Post op-ed piece [Unemployment benefits are causing a worker shortage” WP June 3, 2020] he claims the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program creates a shortage of labor because benefits are too high.
He cites the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) June Jobs Report that 32 percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill. NFIB’s chief economist, William C. Dunkelberg, complains “generous unemployment benefits are making it harder for some firms to recall workers and fill open positions.” Puzder goes on to tell us “Virtually anyone in business will tell you that this $600 per week bonus is discouraging work.” He concludes “It isn’t complicated. If you pay people more to stay home than to work, fewer people will work.”
How true, but irrelevant because his comments only tell us what we already know: millions worked for less than $600 a week before the pandemic and people like Puzder earned millions exploiting them. He expects public policy to be a priority for corporate America and ignores the dangers of the pandemic entirely; it interferes with his privileges. Since $600 a week is $15 an hour for full time work, or $30,000 a year, he demands that public policy must continue to promote salaries so low they convert people into the working poor.