“Hunger is a pretty powerful thing,” said Ingraham
On Thursday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham suggested a method to encourage unemployed people in America to return to the work force: get rid of unemployment benefits.
Ingraham made the proposal during an interview with Jon Taffer, the host and executive producer of FX’s reality series Bar Rescue. Taffer raised the scenario that if two people in a household each are receiving $800 a week in unemployment benefits, they would make $83,000 a year. “The median income in America is only $63,000. We’re incentivizing people to stay home,” Taffer said. “What if we gave that additional unemployment benefits to employers to incentivize people to go to work?”
Ingraham responded with a proposal that would raise those stakes. “What if we just cut off the unemployment,” she said. “Hunger is a pretty powerful thing,” she added. While she clarified she wasn’t talking about physical hunger or food insecurity, Ingraham went on to talk about able bodied people who would be forced to work without unemployment money.
“I’m talking about people who can work, and refuse to work,” she continued. “But the government is literally putting anvils, in many ways, on people’s shoulders, either through the mandates, regulations, and now through free money.”
A lofty idea on its surface already, the numbers do not support Ingraham’s suggestion. Federal unemployment benefits have already been cut off in 26 states in an effort to get citizens to go back to work; many of them are Republican led states, as reported by Business Insider.
However, analyses from firms like Homebase concluded that people in states that cut off unemployment were not able to find jobs as frequently as states that keep unemployment benefits. States that ended additional unemployment benefits saw a 0.9 percent decrease in employment, while states that kept the benefits saw a 2.3 percent employment increase.
Also, national unemployment has nearly been cut in half over the past year. As of July, unemployment in the United States is reported to be at 5.4 percent, as opposed to July 2020 when it was at 10.2 percent, according to Statista. Prior to that, unemployment rose from 3.67 percent in 2019 to 8.3 percent in 2020, when the numerous business shutdowns happened due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Talk show host Laura Ingraham speaks during CPAC 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland, the American Conservative Union’s annual gathering to discuss the conservative agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Ingraham is notorious for her controversial takes. It was she who coined the infamous “shut up and dribble” phrase when she spoke out against NBA MVPs LeBron James and Kevin Durant in 2018 after the two ballplayers criticized then-president Donald Trump, as reported by NPR.
Later that year, James would go on to co-opt the phrase for a Showtime documentary series about basketball players using their platforms to address social justice issues.
In 2019, several people called for her firing after she mocked Nippy Hussle while reporting on his funeral, as previously reported by theGrio. She acknowledged his guest appearance on YG’s single “FDT,” an acronym for “F— Donald Trump.” She said at the time, “So… the chorus it goes on and on. Is that related to the lowest unemployment ever basically for African Americans?”
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