Why Is the Recovering Economy the Elephant In the Room?

Why Is the Recovering Economy the Elephant In the Room?
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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America’s economy is coming in hot, and it is vital that Congress not ruin this rebound with legislation that could leave millions of Americans permanently unemployed. Some Democrats in Washington are working to do just that.

As new original research by the Foundation for Government Accountability highlights, the signs are all there: Unemployment claims are plummeting, jobs are coming back, and entrepreneurs are creating more new businesses than ever before. More than 1.7 million new businesses have formed since June alone. These markers for a recovering economy should be welcome news to us all, but you won’t find them among the mainstream media’s top talking points. Instead, they’re playing fast and loose with the “news” about our economy and are hoping voters don’t realize a full economic recovery is already underway.

During President Trump’s first term, the unemployment rate dropped to a record low. Millions of jobs were available, and millions more Americans experienced the power of work after being trapped in government dependency for far too long. It was an economy on fire for Americans, and a disaster for Democrats attempting to convince voters that they were “better off” before President Trump took office. But interrupting this success, the COVID-19 pandemic broke loose and all focus turned to fighting the virus. 

Many states implemented strict stay-home orders to keep folks at home and slow the spread of the virus. These lockdowns, though perhaps well-intentioned, forced businesses to shutter their doors and left millions of Americans without work. In response to the crisis, Congress passed legislation to expand our nation’s unemployment insurance (UI) system. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, individuals were no longer required to search for work as a condition of receiving benefits, and an additional 600 weekly bonus was added to UI checks. 

As UI claims continued to pour in, it quickly became clear that the changes, particularly the $600 weekly UI bonus, were not having a positive effect on our national recovery. Even as businesses were reopening, millions of Americans were staying at home because they received more in UI benefits than they earned at work. In fact, more than 75 percent of UI recipients collected more in unemployment benefits than they did through work. 

But once the $600 weekly UI bonus expired, the economy began picking up speed. More than 4.4 million Americans have moved off of unemployment since late July, when the UI bonus expired. Nearly 3.8 million Americans returned to work in August alone. The unemployment rate is on the decline and job creation is on the rise.

Better still, entrepreneurs are creating new businesses at a record pace. According to the Department of Commerce, more than 1.7 million new businesses have been created just since June. It’s a recipe for success, but one that could easily be derailed if Democrats secure their plans to pay people more to stay home than to participate in the workforce.

Last week, House Democrats jammed through legislation that would create another $600 weekly UI bonus that would last at least into spring of 2021. Though it’s unlikely that this package will become law in its current form, we should question this continued push for extended UI benefits despite research showing the bonus both hurts the American economy and isn’t necessary, given multiple economic markers proving we’re on the road to recovery.

The recovering American economy is rapidly becoming the proverbial elephant in a room full of Democrats. They may not want to admit it, but under President Trump’s continued leadership, we’re headed back to a roaring economy, and the media should share this good news far and wide.

Jonathan Ingram is the vice president of policy and research at the Foundation for Government Accountability. 



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