Reprinted from The American Prospect by Robert Kuttner on August 16, 2021.
“About this time every August,” writes Robert Kuttner in The American Prospect, “my wife and I head for the Berkshires to listen to music at Tanglewood, catch some theater at Shakespeare & Company, and hike these gentle hills and woods. We also treat ourselves to some of the local eateries.
“This year, due to the pandemic, the cultural venues are operating at about half capacity and so are the restaurants. We’ve heard more than one owner complain that they can’t get enough help—due to the damned government paying people not to work.
“Except that it ain’t so. Arindrajit Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, reviewing census data, looked at the 25 states that ended benefits early, in June. Dube found that the share of adults with a job in the states that cut benefits actually fell by 1.2 percent.
“A recent piece by Reuters quoted business economists who came to similar conclusions. …