Montana Governor and convicted thug Greg Gianforte visited Fox News for a victory lap in cutting off jobless benefits to his constituents in order to gear up for tourist season. He got nothing but praise from Fox host Charles Payne.
Gianforte, convicted for assaulting a reporter in 2017, crowed to Payne about his state being the first to drop extended jobless benefits. “We’ve had a terrific response,” Gianforte claimed. “You know we were paying people to stay home, which was appropriate during the midst of the pandemic and, as you know, we were the first state to remove these supplemental benefits.”
Gianforte told of a “hotel owner” whose manager “was cleaning rooms and doing laundry himself because he couldn’t get anybody to apply” for the job. “Within a couple of days of us removing the supplemental benefits, they had 60 applications at that single hotel,” Gianforte said. He also told of a paint contractor who hadn’t been able to hire anyone “for months.” But “Within two days after us removing these supplemental benefits, six applications. Montana’s open for business.”
Gianforte’s anecdotes notwithstanding, recent research found that cutting jobless benefits will probably hurt people already struggling more than it will help businesses find workers. From a May 21 NBC News article:
An analysis released this week from Oxford Economics paints a grim picture about the results of those actions: A total of around 3.5 million workers will lose that supplemental funding. Since most of those states [cutting jobless benefits] also plan to discontinue other pandemic-triggered expanded unemployment programs for gig workers and those who had exhausted regular state benefits, roughly 2.5 million would lose access to unemployment payments entirely. The impact would be on the order of $8 billion a month for the remaining duration of the benefit expansion.
Governors curtailing these programs before the scheduled Sept. 6 expiration date have said they are doing so because businesses in their states are struggling to find workers. Labor economists reject this line of thinking, disputing the idea that roughly $1,200 a month is enough inducement to keep people home in the face of ongoing health and caregiving hurdles.
“Yes, it has some marginal impacts, but people think that child care responsibilities and Covid hesitation are a bigger effect,” said Jeff Strohl, director of research at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
But Payne cheered the move as a gift to workers. “When you hear the media say that it was a heartless move on your part, that Republicans are denying these folks who are out of work. What do you say to that? What kind of pushback do you give against this because ultimately you’re helping small businesses and these people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”
Gianforte agreed. He called unemployment a “safety net” but that “it should not be a career choice.” He said his constituents have been getting $42,000 a year “to sit at home,” as if that’s the lap of luxury.
He depicted his constituents as lazy, good-for-nothings for whom he was doing a big favor: “In the process, we’re moving the satisfaction that comes from working hard and being self-sufficient. We want to give people the dignity of work,” Gianforte added.
Montana is providing a $1200 bonus for unemployed workers who get a job and work for a minimum of four weeks.
Before long, Gianforte revealed what he really cares about: pushing people into low-wage, high-contact tourist-season jobs. “As we come into our tourist season, I just want to say that we have blue ribbon trout streams, they’re crystal clear, Glacier Park, Yellowstone National Park, we want to be in a position where we take care of all the Americans that choose to come here and get a line wet or just view the mountains and our hotels, our restaurants, they didn’t have the staff they needed. We needed to provide an incentive to get people back so we could take care of all our visitors this summer.”
Payne ended the interview by gushing, “Congratulations. You had an amazing idea and now everyone’s following your lead, and I think we’re all going to be happy about it.”
You can watch it below, from the May 24, 2021 Your World.