Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sparred with White House Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Shalanda Young during a Tuesday hearing on enhanced unemployment benefits. Graham promoted the GOP’s credo that Americans are refusing to look for jobs because the $300 per week unemployment supplement – which is set to expire the week ending September 5th – provides a higher income than most entry-level jobs.
While it is true that there are millions of open positions throughout various industries in the United States, many leading economists have explained that companies need to offer higher wages and better benefits to incentivize people to apply for employment.
Graham stated that the “belief is the enhanced unemployment benefit is deterring people from reentering into the workforce.There’s a lot of jobs out there that are unfilled and will never be filled until you change the benefit structure. Does that logic make sense to you, given where we’re at in our economy?” he asked Young.
“I understand the logic, but I’ve also not met Americans who would prefer not to work. There’s a dignity to work in this country that most Americans have,” Young replied.
Graham cut her off to complain about members of his family who refuse to work for $15 per hour and then admitted that jobs that pay less than unemployment are not worth pursuing.
“Well I got a lot of people in my family that ain’t working because they’re getting — I’ll show you some of my family,” Graham said as a joke.
“So, bottom line is I think there are people out there, they’re not bad people, but they’re not going to work for $15 an hour if they make $23 unemployed,” he continued. “That doesn’t make you a bad person. If you’re working for $15 an hour, that makes you almost a chump. So no I don’t buy that at all. I think there’s a real problem we’ve created here to incentivize people not to work cause simply they make more money” on unemployment.
“And I’m not blaming them. I’m blaming us,” Graham added, referring to the federal government’s generous benefit program.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.