White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow called the extra $600 per week in unemployment checks as part of coronavirus relief efforts “a disincentive” during an interview on CNN Sunday morning.
Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper about whether unemployment benefits stemming from coronavirus relief efforts will stop in August, Kudlow denied that’s the case before adding that the extra $600 per week currently given to those who filed for unemployment “may stop” because it’s “a disincentive.”
“The $600 plus-up that’s above the state unemployment benefits that they will continue to receive is, in effect, a disincentive,” Kudlow said. “I mean we’re paying people not to work, it’s better than their salaries would get. And that might have worked for the first couple of months. It’ll end in late July.”
Kudlow said that President Trump is “looking at a reform measure” to provide “some kind of bonus for returning to work.”
“So, we want people to go back to work. Temporary layoffs and furloughs can go back to work,” Kudlow said. “That was in the job figures. Unemployment insurance, the weekly numbers, Jake, falling 10 consecutive weeks. So, I think we are on our way. We are reopening, and businesses are coming back. And, therefore, the jobs are coming back. And we don’t want to interfere with that process.”
Pressed again on his remark that the $600 extra a week in unemployment checks is a “disincentive,” Kudlow said he agrees that people want to go back to work.
“And I think they welcome the reopening of the economy. And I think they’re anxious to get out and about,” Kudlow said. “However, at the margin, incentives do matter. And so we have heard from business after business, industry after industry, and there’s already some evidence that this effect is taking place.”
Watch Kudlow’s remarks below:
Kudlow: "We're paying people not to work. It's better than their salaries would get." pic.twitter.com/tUBNRv32t6
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) June 14, 2020