Reader's View: Stauber, Tiffany misplace blame, withhold credit

People are out of the labor pool for reasons relating to the pandemic, but excessive unemployment benefits manifestly isn’t one of those reasons.

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I would like to comment on three statements made in the Nov. 21 story, “ Congressmen discuss supply chain shortages .”

First, Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Hermantown, “intends to push in Washington, D.C., for domestic production of (computer) chips,” the story stated. President Joe Biden called for this as early as February, as Reuters reported, and there is a bill in Congress to provide more than $50 billion. Did Rep. Stauber simply mean he would support this effort already underway?

Second, the story reported that Stauber and Rep. Tom Tiffany, a Republican from Wisconsin, “blame actions by the Biden administration for many of the supply chain issues, including depending on foreign raw and manufactured materials.” How could I have missed the big shift from domestic to foreign sourcing for manufactured materials that took place in the first half of 2021? Perhaps that’s because the shift began decades ago, under the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Since then, the U.S. has lost manufacturing jobs under every Republican president (cumulative loss of over 30%) and gained manufacturing jobs under the two Democratic presidents (cumulative gain of over 7%), as Investment Monitor detailed in May. Exactly who’s to blame?

Finally, the story reported: “Tiffany said that while the enhanced unemployment benefits may have been necessary at the beginning of the pandemic, he believes they were too prolonged and incentivized people to drop out of the labor pool.” There has been no significant movement into the labor market after enhanced unemployment benefits were ended. People are out of the labor pool for reasons relating to the pandemic, but excessive unemployment benefits manifestly isn’t one of those reasons. The data are clear, widely reported, including by the Wall Street Journal, and do not support Tiffany’s contention. Both congressmen must know this. Why do they repeat a discredited theory?

Mike Grossman



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