Recently White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said, “We’re paying people not to work.” And now congressional Republicans want to end the extra $600 unemployment benefits that have been helping so many people manage to survive during this unprecedented time of job loss and economic collapse. They are concerned that the extra money is just encouraging people to stay unemployed.

And you know what? They may be right. Why go back to a crummy job – if you can even find one – that doesn’t pay enough to keep you out of poverty, that doesn’t provide decent job benefits, that doesn’t have good workplace protections?

Kudlow and the Republicans are looking at this issue through the wrong end of the telescope. If they, and the rest of us, want to get folks back to work, then providing jobs with decent pay, good benefits, and safe working conditions is what is really needed.

Double the minimum wage, enact universal healthcare (not universal health insurance), strengthen worker safely requirements, shift to a 30-hour work week for the same pay, create meaningful jobs that deal with critical social and environmental issues and watch workers flood back to real work.

–John C. Reiger
Peace & Freedom Party State Chair