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Patriotic Millionaires Blast Chamber of Commerce on Call to End Expanded Unemployment Benefits

"We do not have a shortage of willing workers in this country. We have a shortage of employers who are willing to pay workers enough to live."
WASHINGTON -

Today, the United States Chamber of Commerce called on the federal government to end $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefits that were a part of President Joe Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollar COVID-19 aid package.  Morris Pearl, former managing director at Blackrock, Inc., and Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, issued the following statement in response:

“Today’s statement by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is absurd and appalling. Claiming that today’s disappointing jobs report is a result of expanded unemployment insurance is nothing more than a cruel tactic to pressure the administration into helping companies that they represent to continue to underpay and exploit their workforce. Our leaders are supposed to be helping to increase wages for low paid workers, not helping employers to keep wages down.

Over the past few weeks large corporations that do not pay their employees a livable wage have expressed their belief that extended unemployment benefits reward Americans not to work. Instead of blaming struggling workers, they should take this moment to self-reflect. Maybe— just maybe— paying their workers more than starvation wages would incentive workers to reenter the workforce.

And if they really believe that people are committing fraud to illegally collect benefits when they could be working, they should be calling for enforcement of the existing rules, not to terminate benefits for millions of law abiding citizens.

It is sickening that the Chamber is crying for help from the federal government to help solve its employment problem by hurting the millions of still-unemployed Americans suffering from the pandemic. These are the same companies who made billions during the course of the pandemic while their workers lost their jobs, homes, and quality of life.

We do not have a shortage of willing workers in this country. We have a shortage of employers who are willing to pay workers enough to live. The U.S Chamber should be ashamed of itself.”

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The Patriotic Millionaires is a group of high-net worth Americans who share a profound concern about the destabilizing level of inequality in America. Our work centers on the two things that matter most in a capitalist democracy: power and money. Our goal is to ensure that the country’s political economy is structured to meet the needs of regular Americans, rather than just millionaires. We focus on three “first” principles: a highly progressive tax system, a livable minimum wage, and equal political representation for all citizens.

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