CBS Host Rejects Reality That Welfare Checks Hurt Hiring

News & Politics

Despite his own broadcast having just aired a report detailing how excessive unemployment checks being doled out by the Biden administration were leading to serious employee shortages across the country and threatening the post-pandemic economic recovery, co-host Anthony Mason still refused to accept the reality that big government was causing a big problem.

“Restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that survived the pandemic now face a new crisis – not enough workers,” Mason admitted as he introduced the segment. He further explained: “Across the country, businesses are struggling to fill many positions just as large numbers of Americans get vaccinated and look forward to vacations.”

Visiting popular vacation destination Cape Cod, Massachusetts, correspondent David Begnaud warned:

And as you get ready to travel, you’re gonna find that some bars, restaurants, and hotels are having a hard finding workers….Tourists are not the only summer visitors, though. Businesses typically hire between 15 and 20,000 extra workers to keep up with the summer demand. But this year, finding enough staff is becoming a real problem.

The reporter found that local restaurant owner David Colombo “needs to find about 40 more workers” before the beginning of the busy summer season. Turning to Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Northcross, Begnaud noted that “There are several barriers causing the worker shortage.” Northcross specifically pointed to extended government unemployment checks: “People stay home, they crunch the numbers and they see what their unemployment benefits are versus what their potential exposure is versus their child care needs, and they’re making decisions to just kind of sit out another summer.”

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Begnaud went on to cite a backlog of student and temporary work visas as other contributing factors.

Wrapping up his report, he emphasized that the problem “really comes down to unemployment benefits and temporary work visas.”

Moments later, co-host Gayle King stumbled on to the downside of the government paying unemployed people more money than they would make from working: “Guys, if the unemployment benefits, you get more staying home than if you get a job, what is the incentive to go get a job?”

Mason briefly attempted to answer her question, but soon gave up and rejected any fact-based argument: “Well, that’s always – that was the complaint to some degree about the stimulus package, was that people getting these checks were going to be less – but I don’t buy that.” King asked: “You don’t?” Disregarding Begnaud’s reporting, Mason asserted: “No, because if you see that there’s a job opening, you want to get in a job before somebody else takes it.”

Fellow liberal host Tony Dokoupil rushed in to claim that workers supposedly struggling to find temporary housing in beach communities was “a bigger issue” and Mason chimed in that it was really “the visa issue, which is because a lot of these resort communities rely on foreign workers.”

They conveniently ignored non-tourist sectors of the economy where business owners were equally struggling to fill jobs.

Even left-wing MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle has accepted that government welfare checks have created a hiring crisis nationwide.

Hosts like Mason are so committed to maintaining the leftist narrative that government is good that they will reject reporting from their own network rather than admit policies enacted by the Democratic Party are bad for the economy.

The CBS anchor’s disbelief was brought to viewers by JCPenney and Panera. You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.

Here is a full transcript of Begnaud’s May 6 report:

7:13 AM ET  

ANTHONY MASON: Restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that survived the pandemic now face a new crisis – not enough workers. Across the country, businesses are struggling to fill many positions just as large numbers of Americans get vaccinated and look forward to vacations. Our lead national correspondent, David Begnaud, is in Long Beach, New York. David, good morning.

DAVID BEGNAUD: Good morning to you. Look, with the end of the pandemic in sight, we’re all ready to travel, right? And as you get ready to travel, you’re gonna find that some bars, restaurants, and hotels are having a hard finding workers. A lot of people left, and they need them to come back to work. A good example of that is Cape Cod, Massachusetts. That’s where we’re going to take you to this morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Summer Shortage; Service Industries Short-Staffed as More Americans Venture Out]

Welcome to the beautiful Cape Cod. The iconic seaside tourist destination that roughly two million people visit every summer. Tourists are not the only summer visitors, though. Businesses typically hire between 15 and 20,000 extra workers to keep up with the summer demand. But this year, finding enough staff is becoming a real problem.

DAVID COLOMBO [CAPE COD RESTAURANT OWNER]: We’re going to be more efficient.

BEGNAUD: David columbo has three restaurants. One that boasts the best lobster roll in New England. Pretty good eating.

COLOMBO: What are you applying for?

BEGNAUD: Colombo says he needs to find about 40 more workers.

So you’re just waiting for 40 people to walk through the door?

COLOMBO: It’s funny, this year you have to entice them a little more, you know? They know the situation. Well, you give them more money and so forth.

BEGNAUD: That’s interesting.

COLOMBO: Yeah, yeah. You know, they –

BEGNAUD: A little bit more demanding?

COLOMBO: They have a little bit of the upper hand right now. And you know, it’s better than having nobody, you know.

BEGNAUD: What are you willing to pay a little bit more?

COLOMBO: Well, that’s – you know, I wish not to say that because they may be listening.

BEGNAUD: There are several barriers causing the worker shortage, says Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Northcross.

WENDY NORTHCROSS: People stay home, they crunch the numbers and they see what their unemployment benefits are versus what their potential exposure is versus their child care needs, and they’re making decisions to just kind of sit out another summer.

BEGNAUD: You know, similar hurdles are threatening other beach towns. Tourism is a nearly $7 billion business in Cape May County, which is in New Jersey. Chamber of Commerce president Vicki Clark says a backlog of temporary J-1 student visas are adding to the problem.

VICKI CLARK: That program did not happen last year because of COVID. And there is a huge backlog of these applications this year. Not all embassies around the world have opened up and so students are having a very difficult time getting their Visa appointments.

BEGNAUD: So tell me, how many employees do you need?

GARY THULANDER [CHATHAM BARS INN MANAGING DIRECTOR]: We blossomed to 675 employees during high season. So we need bring about 400 employees.

BEGNAUD: Back on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, Gary Thulander runs the Chatham Bars Inn and he’s dealing with the same problem. Roughly 125 of his employees need to get a temporary work visa in order to work for him. And when we met him, he had some good news to share.

THULANDER: The consulates just opened up in the eastern bloc countries and also Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. That’s going to help us dramatically filling out our needs for staffing levels coming up.

BEGNAUD: That’s big news for you.

THULANDER: It’s huge news for us, absolutely.

BEGNAUD: You know, it really comes down to unemployment benefits and temporary work visas. But there’s also a temporary housing issue, Anthony. We were told that on Cape Cod a lot of people moved out of the big cities, say Boston for example, moved to Cape Cod to work from home during the pandemic. And now some of these temporary workers are saying, “Hey, I’ll go back to Cape Cod to work, but I’m having a hard time finding a place to live while I’m there.”

MASON: Yeah, a lot of people moved around during the pandemic. David doing a bit of a shore tour there. Thank you, David. [Laughter]

GAYLE KING: Yeah, right.

MASON: And some nice eating on Cape Cod.

TONY DOKOUPIL: Yeah, that lobster roll looks good, a taste of summer.

MASON: It looks really good. Yeah, no –

KING: Guys, if the unemployment benefits, you get more staying home than if you get a job, what is the incentive to go get a job?

MASON: Well, that’s always – that was the complaint to some degree about the stimulus package, was that people getting these checks were going to be less – but I don’t buy that. If you get –

KING: You don’t?

MASON: No, because if you see that there’s a job opening, you want to get in a job before somebody else takes it.

DOKOUPIL: The housing is a bigger issue.

MASON: Yes.

DOKOUPIL: Because when you don’t have many things open, the prices go through the roof.

MASON: Yeah.

DOKOUPIL: And no one can pay you enough to cover that.

MASON: Right. And the visa issue, which is because a lot of these resort communities rely on foreign workers. They do in the summer particularly.

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