South Carolina will now pay for the privilege of punishing its people twice over. For the past decade, the state has deprived nearly 200,000 residents of health insurance by refusing to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid. Now, it will also turn down federal unemployment insurance as part of an effort to force people back to work.
On Thursday, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster announced that he’s rejecting hundreds in millions in aid for unemployed South Carolinians. It follows a decision by Gov. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) earlier this week to do the same. Officials in Wyoming and Georgia are reportedly considering rejecting the extra $300 of weekly unemployment insurance that’s available until September as well. The logic is iffy, at best.
Panic has set in on the right that boosted unemployment is preventing people—particularly restaurant workers—from rejoining the workforce. But there’s little solid evidence that is what’s driving people to stay at home. Many people remain fearful of being exposed to COVID-19, some can’t find jobs as good as the ones they lost, while others, particularly women, have to take care of children whose schools or daycares are not yet fully open.