Rick Scott, who gutted Florida's unemployment system, says coronavirus stimulus will pay low-wage workers too much

Photo via Rick Scott/Twitter
Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the former governor who basically reached into the state’s chest, ripped out the unemployment system while yelling “Kali Ma,” and lowered it into a lava pit, argued last night that increased unemployment benefits in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package may encourage people to not go back to work and remain unemployed.

Scott’s concern was echoed by fellow Republicans like South Carolina Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, as well as Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who all believed the bill’s $600 per week increase in unemployment benefits, on top of state benefits, could incentivize low-wage earners to not go back to work after all this blows over.

"We cannot be paying people more money on unemployment than they get paid in their job.”

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“We have a virus and we know people can’t work for a variety of reasons,” said Scott, whose net worth is estimated to be over $255 million and was partially obtained by overseeing the largest Medicare fraud in U.S. history. “We got to help them but at the moment we go back to work, we cannot create an incentive not to work. We cannot be paying people more money on unemployment than they get paid in their job."

Of course, despite the criticism from Scott, the Senate ultimately passed the historic stimulus bill unanimously.

As the Orlando Sentinel pointed out last week, while Florida’s unemployment rate skyrockets to record highs, the state's current, and god awful unemployment benefit system ranks among the worst in the country, capping out at $275 a week and lasting only 12 weeks. You can thank Scott for both that and the website that barely works.

Meanwhile, Scott and his colleagues will now go on a three-week paid vacation.

This story originally appeared in Creative Loafing Tampa.

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