One mostly unintended—definitely on the Republican side—aspect of the $600 in added unemployment benefits is that it reduced racial disparities. But that means that one aspect of the $600 expiring is that those same racial disparities have come roaring back. Why? Because, for one thing “Black workers disproportionately live in states with the lowest benefit levels and the highest barriers to receiving them,” The New York Times reports. “Without the $60 federal payments, the most an unemployed worker in Florida or Alabama can receive is $275 a week.” Nearly 60% of Black workers live in the South, where state governments have spent decades ensuring workers would have the weakest protections and rights possible. So the additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits has dramatically equalized the situation between states with relatively few Black workers and relatively generous unemployment benefits and those with relatively many Black workers and appallingly weak unemployment insurance.
These disparities aren’t an accident. “Yesterday’s racist system becomes today’s incidental structural racism,” RAND Corporation economist Kathryn Edwards told The New York Times. The added federal benefit also reduced racial disparities by expanding the categories of workers covered by unemployment, since historically another way Black workers have been excluded from government assistance is by excluding the types of work Black workers do from being covered. And frankly, as Republicans resist renewing the additional $600 in unemployment that they allowed to expire, we have to consider the fact that it benefits Black people as one more reason Republicans oppose it.
● Real-life horror stories from the world of pandemic motherhood: “I have been given two options: either resign or get fired,” one woman says.
● Pro-labor candidates are winning primaries in New York—but why aren’t unions endorsing them? That unions often support mediocre incumbents over more progressive challengers is nothing new, but how did New York’s unions so totally miss the political moment in the wake of 2018?
● Lowe’s appears to be beefing up its anti-union efforts, with a job posting for someone with “experience supporting union free environments” to lead a team of “Employee Relations Consultants.”
● Sen. Elizabeth Warren talked to The New York Times about the importance of childcare in the economy. Speaking of which, a Center for American Progress report characterizes childcare for infants and toddlers as “costly and unavailable.”