White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday again trotted out the Trump administration story that American workers would like nothing better than to sit at home collecting unemployment benefits. He even cited an academic study to back him up — except he completely “misinterpreted” the research, according to the lead author of the study.
Kudlow repeated on CNN the administration’s attack on continuing the $600 a week extra unemployment benefit for American workers that expired last month. He argued that the money is a disincentive to work, refusing to recognize that the number of available jobs for the newly unemployed has dramatically shrunk amid the COVID-19 crisis, which prompted the stimulus measure in the first place.
“What evidence do you have?” CNN host Poppy Harlan asked Kudlow.
“What evidence?” asked an exasperated Kudlow, who cited a University of Chicago study.
“But, Larry, the University of Chicago survey, it doesn’t conclude what you’re arguing,” Harlow said, adding that she’d talked to the study’s lead author, Peter Ganong, who told her it was a “mistake to draw the conclusion as you have been and the White House has been that right now it’s a disincentive to go back to work.”
Ganong has estimated that without some enhanced unemployment benefits, aggregate spending could fall 4.3% — a steeper economic decline than during the Great Recession.
“Well, look, whoever that chap is, he or she .... we can argue one academic versus another,” Kudlow responded. Harlow reminded him: “You brought up the University of Chicago” study.
She added: “You’ve read the study, right?” Kudlow insisted that he’s “seen the work.” He then named an economist from the University of Chicago who had nothing to do with the study.
HARLOW: What evidence do you have that unemployment benefits are a disincentive for people to go back to work?
KUDLOW: This University of Chicago study
H: I talked to the author of the...