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Martha Raddatz Grills Steve Mnuchin on Unemployment Benefits

ABC’s Martha Raddatz challenged Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for claiming that unemployment benefits in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic are causing people to not seek out new jobs.

Mnuchin joined Raddatz for an interview on This Week, where he was asked about how he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are in dispute over unemployment insurance and relief to counteract America’s economic slowdown. Mnuchin used his time to dismiss the idea of extending $600 weekly unemployment benefits, and he argued that the labor market’s recovery is hindered by relief that “overpaid” certain people.

I think as you said Steny Hoyer and others understand that unemployment is supposed to be wage replacement, so it should be tied to some percentage of wages. The fact that we had a flat number was only an issue of an emergency where we had 30-year-old computer systems, so I think on the concept, we absolutely agree on enhanced unemployment, we want to fix the issue where in some cases people are overpaid and we want to make sure there’s the right incentives.

“So you do think it’s a disincentive to find a job if you have that extra $600?” Raddatz asked.

“There’s no question, in certain cases, where we’re paying people more to stay home than to work,” Mnuchin replied. “That’s created issues in the entire economy.”

From there, Raddatz cut-in to say “not all the evidence” is on Mnuchin’s side, and she pointed to a recent Yale study which found that expanded jobless benefits did not reduce employment. Mnuchin countered by saying there was another study to back up his claim that some Americans are “overpaid” and it makes them disinclined to return to work.

Watch above, via ABC.

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