The Associated Press published a story on the Labor Day holiday of all days that left a lot of people scratching their heads in confusion, especially after reading the headline.
In a piece with the headline “Jobless Americans have few options as benefits expire,” AP business writer Ken Sweet reported that, “Millions of jobless Americans lost their unemployment benefits on Monday, leaving only a handful of economic support programs for those who are still being hit financially by the year-and-a-half-old coronavirus pandemic.” He went on to detail who among the unemployed it impacted the most:
Two critical programs expired on Monday. One provided jobless aid to self-employed and gig workers and another provided benefits to those who have been unemployed more than six months. Further, the Biden administration’s $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit also ran out on Monday.
It’s estimated that roughly 8.9 million Americans will lose all or some of these benefits.
As news websites often do, Alabama news outlet ABC 33/40 republished the AP story in its entirety and pushed it on their Twitter feed, as you can see below:
Jobless Americans have few options as benefits expirehttps://t.co/p0fJWfJbuX
— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) September 6, 2021
As I am writing this, the article seems to have disappeared from their website. Instead of the direct link (archived here) taking you to the actual story, you get taken to this error page. While it’s unclear why the piece has been removed (or maybe just moved to another link), one possible answer could stem from all the pushback they received on Twitter over it, which undoubtedly was helped when Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) saw the tweet and amplified it by responding accordingly:
Um, get a job?
There are millions of vacancies, and small businesses across the Nation are desperate for workers. https://t.co/0ejI45Ja6I
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 7, 2021
You’d think Cruz pointing out the most obvious solution to losing unemployment benefits would find widespread bipartisan agreement at this stage of the pandemic. But Twitter being the bowl of dumb it so often is, Cruz is currently in the middle of being ratioed by other Twitter users over supposedly “shaming” people for having the nerve to suggest they go out and find a job.
Ridiculous. It’s not “shaming” a single unemployed person to urge them to get back out into the workforce. Not that anecdotal evidence is definitive proof of anything, but I can tell you probably 90% of the businesses I’ve gone to over the last several months have had “hiring” signs displayed prominently where they can be seen by people driving by or coming in. I’ve read of countless other news stories in other parts of the country where employers are having to beg and almost bribe people to come back to work, offering not only a hiring bonus but also bonuses for staying on with the same company for six months, a year, a year and a half, and so on.
I don’t want this post to be misconstrued as me making fun of the unemployed. I’m not. I’ve been unemployed in the past and have had friends and family members go through it as well. It’s tough, but it’s got to be doubly tough in the middle of a pandemic when governments at the local and/or state levels at one point put so many limitations on what could and could not be opened, restricted capacity levels, etc., which forced layoffs and business closures.
But America is back open again. According to Labor Dept. estimates, there are as many as 10 million job openings out there. I realize there are extenuating circumstances for some but at this point people who can work need to be out there filling those positions and becoming productive members of society again.