Over the course of the pandemic that's killed over 600 thousand Americans and completely upended daily life in the United States for more than a year, millions of people found themselves suddenly unemployed.
Compounding this obstacle was the addition of other pandemic-induced fiscal constraints, like widespread school closures that required childcare and virtual learning resources.
As a result, Congress passed or preserved expanded unemployment benefits as parts of pandemic relief legislation multiple times since the beginning of the crisis.
But this past weekend, those benefits expired, reducing checks for millions of Americans by $300 and withdrawing them completely for millions more, even as pandemic related costs remain with the rise of the Delta Variant.
In response to this, Republican Senator Ted Cruz had some callous advice for those whose benefits are expiring.
Um, get a job? There are millions of vacancies, and small businesses across the Nation are desperate for workers. https://t.co/0ejI45Ja6I— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1630985688.0
Cruz suggested that it was expanded benefits which left small businesses "desperate for workers," but evidence has shown otherwise. More than half of states refused federal aid allocated for expanded unemployment, arguing that it would incentivize beneficiaries to return to work. Data indicates they were wrong.
Another argument is that the prevalence of minimum wages—which are rarely livable wages—and the absence of benefits have discouraged Americans from actively seeking employment.
Many of Cruz's critics pointed this out.
businesses are so desperate they’ll do anything to get workers… except pay a living wage because they know the gov… https://t.co/U0ZEIcnk3M— hasanabi (@hasanabi) 1631027977.0
Ahh yes. Let’s tell Americans who don’t want to go back to exploitive work, making an unlivable wage, in the midst… https://t.co/cY7cSYfmSd— 🌱Olivia Julianna 🌱 (@🌱Olivia Julianna 🌱) 1630991310.0
Some context from the August jobs report: -1.5 million people said they weren’t able to take a job because of a pan… https://t.co/AULtuRwnot— Sylvan Lane (@Sylvan Lane) 1631031901.0
Get a job? Um, 20 of the top 25 states dependent on federal welfare benefits are GOP states.… https://t.co/5DfXkQkVWT— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@Qasim Rashid, Esq.) 1631021226.0
The Wall Journal & the Harvard Business School just reported on how employers aren’t serious & throw out millions o… https://t.co/nvscc99Hto— Alex Morash (@Alex Morash) 1631028895.0
Telling people to get a job when we don’t have a living wage or Medicare For All is not going to get it done. The… https://t.co/D4lT2LHT65— Jen Perelman (@Jen Perelman) 1631035439.0
They were also quick to call out Cruz's hypocrisy.
Y’all pay him $15k per month to say this to you. He’s a US Senator, literally living off the government, telling pe… https://t.co/g7k5dU7qyD— AshleyStevens (@AshleyStevens) 1631030414.0
Man Who Jetted to Cancun During Snowstorm Surprised You Don’t Want to Bus Tables During Plague https://t.co/NjCJY6BLBD— Elliott Downing (@Elliott Downing) 1631034719.0
tell me you haven't had a real job in a decade without telling me you haven't had a real job in a decade. https://t.co/0HQQ2wrKMj— Jessica Huseman (@Jessica Huseman) 1631031753.0
Cruz opposes raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is still not a livable wage in most, if not all, states. He is also against a public healthcare system that would allow unemployed Americans to access medical care without financial devastation.