Letter: Unemployment benefits are disincentive to work

Representing the less educated masses, let’s examine professor Sheila Kennedy’s “Taking Issue” column regarding the hospitality industry [Sheila Kennedy: “Connecting some dots in the hospitality industry,” April 30].

The question is, what is the point she’s really leading up to?

First, we can all agree on these truths. There are multi-millions of undocumented, or illegal, immigrants in the country. A vast majority are hard-working, good people. (Some are certainly not; that is a different subject, but part of the whole conversation.) There is a legal way to become an American, and previous immigrants who did it the right and honorable way make a good argument. But all people are worthy of respect, unless their behavior precludes it.

Now, Ms. Kennedy states that the Biden-expanded unemployment benefits won’t be a disincentive for job seekers. Of course, they are. Anyone earning less than $32,000 is better off not working. That’s a fact.

A lot of hospitality workers, and many others, make less than that. It’s not “Donald Trump’s immigration policy” and his “disdain for Black and brown people” (ridiculous statements) that are keeping hospitality workers in short supply. Laborers are few in a lot of industries these days.

Then, Kennedy decries the low wages, lack of health insurance and no stimulus checks for most undocumented immigrants—and lastly calls for a “living wage” while chastising those “adamant opponents of (Black and brown) immigrants.” Come on. Economics 101 and 102 would explain a lot.•

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Joel Kartholl

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