With the alleged pending sale of the Hilton to UPike, there are many moving parts that have not been settled. I won’t weigh in at this time, but I suspect it will not be a comfortable situation unless major negotiations and communication are able to happen.

Until that time, the immortal lyrics of Warren Zevon,“Send lawyers, guns and money,” (I wont print the next line but that’s what happened) seem very appropriate.

So instead, I’ll weigh in on the state’s $1,500 proposed incentive to get people back to work.

It’s not such a great idea.

The work force now is in a tailspin. The government is giving away tax dollars to keep people home. Businesses need employees and are beginning to experience a worker shortage. In an effort to entice people to work, wages are going up, causing the cost of goods to increase.

Between the high cost of labor, a shortage in production, the drought affecting the farms and the government giving away money to incentivize people to work, we continue to see higher prices on everything from lumber to gas to tomatoes and everything in between.

Everywhere you go, you’ll see help wanted signs for mostly entry-level jobs that are now paying upwards of $12 an hour.  Prior to COVID, those same jobs were paying significantly less. You will also see help wanted ads for coal miners out-of-state and the need for skilled positions, like nurses. Skilled positions need to be filled by educated people; I kicked that dead horse last week.

When the government incentives run out and people are not getting that extra cash to stay home, there will be an influx in workers who need jobs and the wages will start to lower. People in entry level jobs, who are getting $12 per hour now, may be replaced by someone who will make even less because too many people will be looking for work.

If you go to fast food restaurants now, they have eliminated jobs by installing kiosks so that customers can place their own order. Where three or four people were taking orders at the registers, now there is only one person, which is redefining the term fast food.

In an effort to force people back to work, Kentucky is now offering $1,500 for people to get a job. I would guess their logic is that once the unemployed get jobs, the state and federal supplements would stop, which would save taxpayers money in the long run.

The reason why it’s not a great idea, however, is because people who have been working through this mess and have been paying taxes to support the unemployed, will also carry the burden of the $1,500 incentive.

So far there are no caveats that I see to the incentive and it seems like it’s a desperate attempt to force people off unemployment. Get a job, get $1,500, work for a while and then quit. And  afterwards, go right back on government supplements and vote for the party that enabled them.

The extra benefits need to stop. If any incentives are to be given, they should go to the people who have been working through the pandemic and to businesses that rehired employees. The incentive should be a reduction in taxes paid to the state and local government through an employees payroll tax. This way employees, currently working and new hires will see an immediate increase in their weekly wages that can last over a longer period of time and force people to stay employed for a longer term. For every rehire a similar tax incentive should be given to the employer.

That keeps people wanting to work over a period of time because they will see an immediate increase in wages. It eliminates people who are collecting unemployment and working for cash because benefits stop. Employers will get tax brakes for rehiring people. And most importantly, it will offer a much-needed “thanks” for all of the people who have remained employed .

Thanks for reading the Floyd Chronicle and Times.

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