Bidenomics in three pictures

Quality of Life
October 13, 2021

Oran P. Smith, Ph.D

Senior Fellow

As the Biden Administration continues to try to cram through more disastrous economic policy, recent lackluster national jobs numbers continue to tell the sad tale. And right here in South Carolina, employers are feeling those impacts hard. They are taking drastic measures to find workers and stay open.

Image #1: Kiki’s Vlog. Before the pandemic and the accompanying federal ”enhanced” benefits hit, Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles was flooded with job applications. Now, the number of job seekers has slowed to a trickle and many of those she hires don’t show up for their first scheduled day of work.

“They would rather take the free money and not work,” she says. Struggling to staff her soul food restaurant has forced her to offer bonuses to existing employees who recruit successful new hires. Kiki is passionate about working, as she shares in this recent video interview.

Image #2: DEW Data Word Picture. There’s no doubt that the flow of “enhanced unemployment benefits” from Washington has contributed to the shortage Kiki is facing. The S. C. Department of Employment and Workforce recently ran the numbers, illustrating the clear incentive to stay home rather than get back to work.

Their comparison assumes a family of four, with two working adults (wages $16.30 per hour for 40 hours per week) and two children—one aged 5 and one aged 7—in a one-year time period.

“Picture” this…

Not Working. Wages $0, Unemployment $33,904, Biden Unemployment $31,200, Child Tax Credit $6,600, Stimulus 1 $3,400, Stimulus 2 $2,400, Stimulus 3 $5,600, Childcare Costs $0 = $83,104.

Working. Wages $67,808, Unemployment $0, Biden Unemployment $0, Child Tax Credit $6,600, Stimulus 1 $3,400, Stimulus 2 $2,400, Stimulus 3 $5,600, Childcare Costs -$19,110 = $66,698.

Loss from Working: $16,406

The numbers don’t lie. It turns out that going to work would have cost this family $16,406 over staying home under Bidenomics!

Thank goodness South Carolina pulled the plug on this Biden program that created a “work penalty,” by piling on additional incentives for the unemployed to not go back to work. Palmetto Promise Institute applauded McMaster’s decision shortly after it was announced:

Federal payouts that incentivize people not to work are hurting South Carolina’s economy, local businesses, and ultimately the dignity of the very people they profess to help,” Palmetto Promise Institute President and CEO Ellen Weaver said. “With over 80,000 jobs now open around the state, Governor McMaster has made the right call. Getting South Carolinians back to work is the best recovery plan we have.

It is also worth noting that the federal General Accounting Office has identified over $12.9 billion in overpayments both in the regular state and bonus federal program. Of that figure, about $1.3 billion was due to fraud. We made the right call.

The supplemental unemployment program is just one in a long line of disincentives for work and marriage that have accumulated in the welfare system. Our friends at the Georgia Center for Opportunity have developed Benefits Cliff to show these programs stack on one another. There is a specific calculator for South Carolina.

Image #3: Dunkin Donuts’ White Board Plea. Regular readers of Palmetto Promise Institute research will agree that refusing to continue to participate in another Washington boondoggle is good common sense. But the labor market in South Carolina is tight. Employers all over the state are struggling to find people to hire.

Thousands of Palmetto State jobs have gone unfilled for months due to the fact that South Carolina never fully closed and quickly reopened for business after initial COVID shutdowns, avoiding the worst of “The Great Suppression.” But acute employee shortages reached a new crescendo this summer and fall.

Here at PPI, we have been collecting photos from business owners and managers who have gone to great lengths to explain to their customers what they are going through. No message we have found is more powerful that the heartfelt whiteboard message shown here from one Dunkin’ Donuts manager to her loyal customers.

That’s Bidenomics in three images. A sad picture in triplicate.

Federalism seems to be nearly dead: states are getting the cramdown from DC at every turn. But we must continue to stand up for the right of every American to work and reap the rewards of their labor.