Thousands of small business owners are struggling to keep the doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic but a U.S. lawmaker says the federal government has created a problem for the people it attempted to help.
Speaking on The Todd Starnes Radio Show, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) shared what many business owners have already learned: Their furloughed employees don’t want to return to work because the unemployment benefits are so generous.
OneNewsNow reported in an April 27 story that the CARES Act passed by Congress helps millions of newly unemployed Americans by adding $600 a week to the compensation, which is typically half of a worker’s salary. That means that many now-former employees are making more than they did on a boss’s payroll so they’re happy staying at home.
Massie is hearing from small business owners in Kentucky’s 4th District who are being told by employees they aren’t returning to work.
The Republican lawmaker went on to share the story of a self-employed hair stylist who is no longer working due to the virus outbreak. She has never paid herself on a W2 form, and thus can’t qualify for the business loan nor the unemployment benefits.
Massie also shared what may be a new wrinkle in the business loan dilemma: the terms of the federal loan program demand that businesses hire back their laid-off employees – the same ones who won’t return.
“The people staying at home are acting in their rational best interest,” Massie told the radio program, “because the government put that money out there, [but] we're killing our own small businesses so they can't even comply with the terms of these loans."
"I know this is going to rile some folks out there, Congressman,” Starnes commented, “but I'm not sure the Republicans get it.”
"They don't get it," replied Massie. "We used to say that what FDR did actually extended the Depression, but now you have a lot of Republicans proposing to do exactly what FDR did in these situations."