Republican senator Mitt Romney has thoughts about survival checks (boldface mine):
Extending federal supplemental unemployment benefits beyond March 14 is a good idea that merits bipartisan support. But the Biden stimulus calls for checks of $400 a week in addition to state checks through September. At that level, the majority of the unemployed would make more by not working. Employers already complain that they can’t find employees.
It’s tempting to snark about how “he’s so close”, but there is a serious point here. While the increase in prices (note I didn’t say costs) due to higher effective ‘wages’ is vastly overstated, for example, by higher minimum wage opponents, but it’s not zero either.
What we have in the U.S. is a system where the tenth through fiftieth percentiles of income (give or take) do have a higher quality of life, at least as reflected by prices, at the significant expense of the bottom thirty percent. Like I said, prices wouldn’t be affected that much, but some of those in top tenth make their money through the infliction of low wages, so a fair number do benefit from low wages directly–it’s their business model. They either have to accept lower personal incomes, or passing on higher wages.
Of course, what makes Romney’s argument all the more ridiculous is that, for the next few months, we still want to pay people to not work because of the pandemic.