How the CARES Act’s massive coronavirus unemployment benefits could backfire
“The structuring of unemployment insurance in the [coronavirus relief bill] definitely isn’t ideal, but it also probably isn’t too big of a concern in the immediate term,” the R Street Institute’s Jonathan Bydlak told me.
“I don’t think we’ll see many workers changing their preference for work based on benefits that they expect to be temporary, which makes us unlikely to see a long-term deterrent to work,” the fiscal policy analyst concluded. “Of course, we should look out for and oppose any effort to extend this aid past the point of immediate crisis.”
Bydlak rightly notes that the bill does make these expanded benefits “temporary,” set to run out after four months. This mitigates the problem substantially — if viewed with a healthy dose of optimism, something rarely called for in analyzing government actions. It’s quite possible the benefits are expanded to six, eight, or even 10 months in future coronavirus relief bills. Before we know it, they might just become yet another part of our massive welfare state, which rarely shrinks once it has been expanded.