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Mitch McConnell Thinks People Are Stilling Living Off Those $1400 Checks From March 2021

A closeup of Mitch McConnell frowning.

Mitch McConnell is once again demonstrating that he simply does not share a reality with about 99% of the rest of us.

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies, businesses, and entire industries are still struggling to find staff. This is most noticeable in the food service industry (as you’ve probably seen if you’ve been to a single restaurant in the last two years), which has seen mass resignations during COVID. Lots of restaurants have been forced to close, while others are just perpetually short-staffed.

There are plenty of reasons for this, of course. Maybe it’s the laughably low pay, or abusive treatment from employers and customers, or the lack of affordable childcare in this country, or maybe it’s the fact that we’re still experiencing an ongoing public health crisis—for these and lots of other reasons, people are not scrambling to fill up all the empty minimum wage jobs out there.

According to Senate Minority Leader and Obvious Man of the People Mitch McConnell, there’s another reason why these jobs aren’t being filled: Because we’re all busy rolling around in our Scrooge McDuck-style vaults of money. You know, the ones we built and stocked back in March of 2021 when President Biden sent us those $1400 checks.

“You’ve got a whole lot of people sitting on the sidelines because, frankly, they’re flush for the moment,” McConnell said during an event in Kentucky this week. “What we’ve got to hope is once they run out of money, they’ll start concluding it’s better to work than not to work.”

McConnell and other Republicans have long blamed those stimulus checks for rising inflation and for making it too appealing to not work. They tried their hardest to block the checks and the rest of Biden’s stimulus package (after supporting similar payments under Trump—how curious!) and after it passed anyway, Republicans made sure to slash every other benefit they could, including extra unemployment funds and the expanded child tax credit. And still, McConnell thinks we’re all “flush” because of a single $1400 check that was still less than what Biden had promised to deliver in the first place.

According to Business Insider, “Many Americans were able to build their savings during the pandemic, thanks to several federal rescue packages. Moody’s Analytics estimates that households built up an extra cash cushion totaling $2.6 trillion from the beginning of the pandemic through the end of 2021.”

But as we know, it’s primarily (if not exclusively) the already wealthy and ultra-wealthy who got richer during the pandemic. For the rest of us, maybe you benefitted from those expanded benefits, or the student loan payment pause, or the eviction moratorium—all of which are long over, and now what are we left with? A mountain of debt, skyrocketing rents, and a hellscape housing market?

If Mitch McConnell thinks the employment market will improve when people “run out of money,” I’ve got some news for him: We’re already there. We’ve been there for quite some time.

(via Business Insider, image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.