By Casey B. Mulligan and Brian Blase
The coronavirus has crushed the U.S. economy, and the legislative remedies Congress recently passed will make the recovery slower once it’s safe to return to work.
No doubt lawmakers needed to act. Relief was likely most important for small businesses and working parents who face tremendous hardship with the closing of schools and day-care centers. In response to the widespread job and revenue losses, Congress provided a massive infusion of payments to families and businesses. But legislators appear to have paid little attention to what their hastily assembled laws would do for incentives to work and succeed, which form the very essence of an economic recovery.
One measure that will soon be famous: the $1,000 weekly payments to the average person receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Congress provided a $600 increase for a four-month period to the nearly $400 average weekly amount that the unemployed receive.
A thousand dollars a week is more than what the majority of full-time workers were getting paid before the virus arrived. The $600 bonus is 24 times the $25 bonus Congress paid during the last recession, when government policies that discouraged work severely harmed the economic recovery….