The former director of the National Economic Council under President Donald Trump said Sunday he’s skeptical about extending unemployment benefits as the country begins to reopen.
In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Gary Cohn said the nation needs “to transition out of the extraordinary measures that were justifiable 60 days ago, 90 days ago, into the real world of what is the continuous definition of unemployment.”
“When we first started the enhanced unemployment benefits, we did it for a specific purpose,” he said. “We wanted to and we needed to get people out of the economy. We needed them to stay home. So we changed the definition of unemployment.
“We said, ‘look, stay home. Don't look for a job. We don't want you to leave your house.’ Now, I think we have to go back to the more traditional definition of unemployment. If you're unemployed, you get benefits. But if you need to be looking for a job and if you get offered a job, you should have to take that job and you should come off of unemployment benefits.”
Cohn said he did agree with the new stimulus bill offered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that federal money should be offered to states hit hard by COVID-19.
“The federal government does have to step in and help out states,” he said. “Just like they've helped small businesses and big businesses, they should help the states.”
“This is where I agree with the Speaker,” he added. “We have to get the states money to help them respond to the crisis. If we're trying to stimulate economic growth, which would be the second half of the equation, we would use a different set of tools to stimulate economic growth. And we have a huge toolbox of tools we can use to stimulate economic growth.”
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