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Hurting the Poor Doesn’t Lead Them to Take Your Bad Jobs


The idea that if we punish the poor, they will return to the worst jobs imaginable turns out to be….pretty much not true.

States that withdrew early from federal unemployment programs pushed few people back to work and fueled a nearly $2 billion cut in household spending, potentially hurting their local economies, according to new research.

Twenty-six state governors — all Republican, except one — opted out of the pandemic-era programs several weeks before their official expiration on Labor Day. Enhanced benefits were keeping the unemployed from looking for jobs and fueling a labor shortage, they claimed.

That bet seems to have had a limited payoff so far, according to a paper authored by economists and researchers at Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Toronto. The research was published Friday.

The data suggests unemployment benefits aren’t playing a big role in hiring challenges and that other factors are having a larger impact — a similar thrust to other recent research analyzing the policy decisions.

Republicans are just punishing the poor for fun. It leads to no desired policy outcomes for them except for more poverty. Which to be fair to them, is a top policy outcome.

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