Press Releases

Why are we still paying people not to work?
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
June 4, 2021
Tampa Bay Times

After a year of devastating human losses and debilitating lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus, small businesses in Tampa are staring down another challenge today: an inability to find new workers.

Why? Much of the reason has to do with the Biden administration’s unemployment benefits
, which are so massive that they’re incentivizing would-be workers to stay home instead of looking for jobs.

...

Thankfully, Florida is cutting them off this month. But look at the damage already done. For the last month, I’ve seen signs in coffee shops and convenience stores across the state noting they’re understaffed because of the “labor crisis,” many begging for applicants. This isn’t just some minor inconvenience; for small businesses, many of which have served their communities for generations, it’s a life-or-death scenario.

Contrast the central logic of the Biden administration’s strategy — paying people to stay home — with how we navigated the public health lockdowns after the pandemic’s initial outbreak.

As millions of small businesses across Florida were forced to close their doors, we could have just thrown caution to the wind and let the market sort it out. But we knew that keeping as many Americans as possible attached to their workplace had to be the highest priority of our response. That’s why I designed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): to protect American workers by providing fully refundable loans to small- and mid-sized businesses so long as they keep their employees working.

Since its implementation began last year, the PPP has helped save up to 55 million American jobs, including 3 million in our state. In fact, more than 430,000 businesses in Florida have now received forgivable PPP loans. And despite serving an average business size of only 20 employees, it’s the largest, most successful fiscal policy program enacted by Congress in recent memory. Doug Holtz-Eakin, former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, called the PPP “the single most effective fiscal policy ever undertaken by the United States government.”

...

Of course, even if PPP kept unemployment rates far lower than economists initially forecasted during the pandemic, too many Americans still faced devastating job losses because of the coronavirus. But with widespread vaccine availability, now is the time when small businesses in Tampa, across Florida and throughout the rest of the United States should be reopening their doors and leading the economic recovery. Now, it’s time for President Biden to stop paying people to remain out of the labor force and for Americans to get back to work.
 
Read the rest here.