One of the central lies the Republican Party loves to tell about the working class that it’s constantly trying to disenfranchise and whose wages it’s steadily working to depress is that their problems really stem from a fundamental laziness.
According to the GOP, the problem isn’t that minimum wage has remained stagnant, failing to even keep pace with inflation or even that wealth is increasingly accumulating in the hands of a very small group of elites. No, the real problem is that if you’re working two jobs to make ends meet, you should really be working three. You should be grinding yourself to dust working every waking hour and that will somehow catapult you to a level of financial success that has grown near impossible to reach for vast swathes of Americans.
This lie serves to prop up the oligarchs that form the power backbone of the Republican Party. Our loss is their gain. It’s also why Republicans have been insisting that the increased unemployment benefits passed by the Biden administration—a necessary measure for keeping people afloat and alive in the midst of a deadly pandemic that the Republicans themselves exacerbated—is why businesses are having trouble finding workers.
The obvious solution to the labor shortage, a solution that the capitalist class abhors, is to simply raise wages. Supply and demand dictates that if you want workers but can’t seem to find enough, then you have to appraise their labor as more valuable and offer them more money. Funny how conservatives only respect market forces when they’re benefitting the super-rich.
During the White House briefing today, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked by Fox News’s perenially bad faith Peter Doocy if the administration believes that the “worker shortage could be driven by the extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits through September.”
“I will say Peter that our economists and our assessment and the assessment of many economists out there is that the impact, the largest impact, are on issues related to the pandemic,” Psaki explained, having long ago become inured to Doocy’s attempt to land gotcha headlines for his conservative network.
“And yes you’re right that the increased [job] numbers that’s a good sign, it’s a positive sign,” Psaki went on. “But it’s a five to six week cycle so the data that was taken for the May jobs number, the jobs number that came out for April in early May, was from early April. That’s almost two months ago right? We’ll see. We’ll have jobs number come on Friday. The vaccination rates are continuing to go up and in terms of people being fully safe, fully vaccinated, it’s going to take some time.”
As usual, Psaki proved more than up to the task of dismantling Doocy’s talking points.
Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy continues to push this issue: “Is there any thought that some of the worker shortage could be driven by the extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits through September?” pic.twitter.com/XKEjt3GhER
— The Recount (@therecount) June 2, 2021
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.