Florida Senator Rick Scott (R), also the state’s former governor, recently made controversial remarks about unemployment benefits making workers not want to go back to work, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
In a fundraising email to prospective donors, Scott warned that “businesses looking to reopen are telling us their employees don’t want to come back to work because they collect more on unemployment.”
Upon the Sentinel’s inquiry, Scott’s office later provided links to news stories about anecdotes in the states of Washington and Kentucky, as well as a tweet from a Pinellas County staffing firm owner. The Sentinel concluded its research and wrote, “There you have it. A few anecdotes to shore up Scott’s conviction that Americans won’t go back to work because they’re briefly living it up on the government dole.”
Business owners have reported a spike in job applications, the opposite of what Scott claimed in his email. CEO of Domino’s Pizza, for example, said in an earnings call last week that he has seen a “very significant increase in applicant flow” despite the federal unemployment aid.
Moreover, it is the consensus that the more generous than usual federal aid is critical to newly unemployed Americans. The Sentinel pointed out that “one of the reasons Congress settled on a $600 lump sum rather than tying the benefit amount to each worker’s salary is because they knew that would create a logistical nightmare, resulting in long delays in payments when workers can’t afford to wait.”
Meanwhile, Florida’s unemployment system — which was implemented under Scott and has prevented many from submitting their claims — has faced harsh criticism for its inefficiency. But when asked about Governor Ron DeSantis’ criticism of the unemployment system he inherited, the former Florida governor’s spokesman told The New York Timesthat the senator did not “have time for dumb political squabbles.”