MINOT, N.D. — Sen. Tim Mathern, a Democrat from Fargo, would like Gov. Doug Burgum to reinstate the pandemic-era federal “top off” to state unemployment benefits.
These federal benefits, which extended the duration of the unemployment benefit and added an additional $300-400 in weekly payments on top of them, will end in North Dakota on June 19. After that date, unemployment benefits will revert to their pre-pandemic levels.
Mathern doesn’t want that to happen, and while that’s not surprising given his political proclivities (our liberal friends always want to put truth to Ronald Reagan’s maxim about government programs being the nearest thing to eternal life on Earth), his economic justifications are nonsensical.
“Sadly this takes $104 million dollars from the pockets of North Dakota workers, but that’s not all. When North Dakotans spend money, they generate about $1.61 in economic activity for every dollar spent,” he wrote in a recent letter to the editor which was also promoted by his political party. “In other words, North Dakota’s local restaurants, main street businesses, our local drug stores, and gas stations are missing out on $270 million in economic activity.”