First the good news. After 4 September, we are FINALLY ending the federal “stimulus/unemployment” payments. It’s time to get people returning to the job market.
But, sadly, I don’t think that — as a result — everyone will be returning to work. This is ironic — as Labor Day is coming up this weekend.
Many “unemployed” may already be working — but not on the books. They are getting comfortable in the subsidized underground economy.
Working in the cash economy (or not working at all) will remain popular as long as all the OTHER benefit programs pass out free goodies. People today know much more about how to get (and STAY) on the dole than they knew in pre-COVID days. And few states are more anti-employment than California.
At this stage, CA will still pay the STATE unemployment benefits — up to $450 a week — $23,400 annually. No social security and other payroll deductions. No state income tax. Apparently the recipient does not even need to pretend that they are seeking work.
In addition, unemployed people have the option to live 100% rent free — AND to have their utility bills fully paid. Free rent is ESPECIALLY valuable in CA, where housing costs (including rent) are far higher than the rest of the nation. The average San Diego apartment rent is $2,344. That’s over $28,000 a year — tax free.
But that’s not all. Unemployed and low income people are “entitled” to food stamps — what we call “Cal-Fresh” in California. That’s $234/person/month — $936 for a family of four — $11,232 annually. Plus there are benefits for families with children via “CalWORKS.”
And, of course, free healthcare plans. To be fair, some such plans are not free — though one must pay as little as $1 a month for full coverage.
My apologies to other welfare bureaucracies that divvy out other free benefits — welfare programs that I’ve failed to mention. Welfare such as free cell phones and cell phone service. I hope y’all don’t feel slighted in my oversight.
People properly lament the “lost year” of education during COVID. That damage to our kids and to society is still hard to calculate. But people DID get an education during COVID — how to do well while receiving welfare. It doesn’t take much skill to receive such benefits — and the oversight is minimal at most.
For a renter who makes under $40K (or even more) a year, working off the books for lower pay combined with all the taxpayer bennies is now a very real option that previously many didn’t know much about. Welfare — especially easy-to-get-and-keep welfare — is arguably the most dangerous drug in America today.
Thank our federal, state and local governments for this perverse education — paid for with TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars.