The Republican Senator claims workers don’t want jobs, just a “fat” government check.
As Florida registers the largest increase in initial unemployment claims of any state for the week ending April 25, spiking from nearly 326,000 claims to more than half a million, Republican Senator Marco Rubio seems to think that the real problem facing the economy is that people simply don’t care to go back to work because the benefits are “too fat.”
“A lot of people are having trouble re-hiring workers because the workers are saying to them ‘I’m making more on unemployment’,” the Trump ally said Wednesday on “Fox and Friends,” despite the fact that most of those he claims want to live off the “fat” have yet to see their first check.
The state’s chronically dysfunctional unemployment system, which does not answer calls and has sent thousands of claimants “ineligible” messages even though they meet the criteria, announced this week that anyone who applied before April 5 must go through the entire process again.
And the benefits to which Rubio and fellow Republican Senator Rick Scott refer to as fat are lean, if not meager, by most standards. In the state of Florida –-one in four with the lowest unemployment benefits– these are capped at $275 per week for 12 weeks. This is thanks to Gov. Scott, who in 2011 cut them from 26 weeks.
“If given the chance to make more on a government program than in a job, some will make the rational and reasonable decision to delay going back to work, hampering our economic recovery,” Scott, himself worth an estimated $250 million, Tweeted on Wednesday.
However, according to Scott, one of four Senate Republicans who objected to the temporary increase in unemployment benefits, the $600 pandemic unemployment assistance from the federal government makes that money add up to a living wage (albeit a temporary one, as the assistance is provided for a period of four months).
The benefits, part of a $2 trillion package called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 96-0 in late March. Scott blamed the Democrats for allowing it to go through.