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Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro said Thursday that while some Americans may feel uneasy accepting cash payments from the government as laid out in the coronavirus response bill, the temporary economic relief is well deserved.
“Over the last two weeks, 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment. That is not because of coronavirus purely, that is because of a forcible shutdown by the federal government of nearly every state in America,” Shapiro said on “The Ben Shapiro Show.”
“When the economy hits a brick wall, the way the government has made it hit a brick wall, that means jobs will fall off extraordinarily fast … that’s what’s happening here and that is why the government is justified in filling the gap and why you are justified in taking the money.”
The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to more than 6.6 million last week, setting a new record for the second week in a row as more states and cities enforced strict stay-at-home measures in an attempt to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
Claims between the period of March 21 and March 28 blew past the previous week’s record of 3.3 million, which brings the total number of Americans who filed for unemployment over the past two weeks to nearly 10 million in a stunning sign of the colossal economic damage inflicted by the outbreak.
“It turns out that, contrary to the popular Bernie Sanders belief, business owners do not have piles of cash lying in the back room that they are storing away from their employees … that’s not the way any of this works,” Shapiro said.
“They have completely removed your ability to work and they have to pay you for that privilege.”
— Ben Shapiro
“Everyone is relying on additional income … relying on revolving credit lines.”
Shapiro offered a creative analogy to illustrate the government’s responsibility to the American people amid the federally mandated social distancing policy and economic shutdown.
“It is not welfare for you to take money when the government drives a Ford F-150 through your front door … they now have to pay you.”
“Maybe they had a reason for doing it that was proper … I think they probably did — but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to compensate you for that,” he explained.
“They have completely removed your ability to work and they have to pay you for that privilege at least until the ability receives a job renews itself.”
Fox Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.