John Kay from Louisiana's Pelican Institute talks about the proposed legislation that would give Louisianans $1,000 to go back to work.

Republican House lawmakers recently introduced the idea that would give Louisiana residents currently on unemployment as much as $1,000 to find a job. But workers would also agree to temporarily give up their jobless benefits.

GOP members of the House labor committee added the incentive to legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Echols, then passed the measure by a 6-5 vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats in opposition.

But critics of the proposal say giving the money to people avoiding work because of already generous benefits is a slap in the face to those who were on the job through the pandemic.

"Government created an issue where they're now competing with employers for workers," says Kay, "Employers aren't competing against other employers for workers, they're competing with the government...who created the situation by shutting down businesses, then created the problem we have now by offering more than double the current Louisiana unemployment through federal benefits.

"We have a problem in Louisiana now where we have an abundance of jobs and paying people extra money to come to work and they won't do it. The legislature is looking for a way to help the process."

Kay adds that recent labor statistics across the nation make his point, with near disastrous job creation totals.

"I'm going to stop short of endorsing the plan," he says, "And the legislators who introduced this aren't in love with the plan. They just want people to go back to work.

"It's a cautionary tale for the future, if it's a pandemic or any government action, when the government does things like this, there are repercussions...throughout the private sector."

 

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