The governor of South Carolina said Monday that federal unemployment programs providing an extra $300 to jobless residents ‘puts us right on the road to socialism’.
Republican Henry McMaster announced on Thursday that his state will opt out of the coronavirus pandemic assistance programs beginning June 30.
He told Tucker Carlson on Monday that his state is experiencing a labor shortage as a result of the boosts. That came after experts revealed that people making $32,000 before COVID could now earn more by staying at home.
McMaster said: ‘This is about as close to socialism that I’ve seen. We’ve got help-wanted signs up everywhere, we get calls and letters, and texts from all sorts of businesses all across the state looking for people to work.
‘People won’t come to work because they’re getting as much money or more in some cases by staying home.’
McMaster said Monday: ‘It’s a counterproductive policy and I’m afraid what the Biden administration is doing is that they’re telling everybody that the virus is still rampant and still in great danger. Everybody has to stay home. That’s not true.
‘We’ve got people and businesses that are looking for people actively every day and can’t find them because they are at home the pay. Go get a job, get back to work. That’s how you build an economy and a family and everything else.
‘The Biden proposals are totally underproductive, killing incentive, and it puts us right on the road to socialism. We’ve got to stand up and fight against this.’
The Labor Department reported on Friday that the US economy added 266,000 jobs in April, well below the 1 million jobs that most forecasters expected.
Bank of America estimates that anyone who earned $32,000 before the pandemic can now get more from a combination of state and federal unemployment benefits.
The unemployed are also allowed to claim benefits for up to 39 weeks – nearly a full year – whereas before, it was capped at 26 weeks. The average US salary in 2019 was $31,133.
The federal benefits include an extra weekly $300 to unemployed workers that was scheduled to run through early September.
Joe Biden was on Monday forced to warn anyone taking unemployment who gets offered a ‘suitable job’ that they must take it or lose their benefits.
The president has rejected calls by Republicans to cut the extra $300 weekly unemployment benefit passed under his COVID relief plan. That benefit expires in September.