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Ted Cruz Opines That Waiters Would Rather Collect Unemployment Than Work Amid Deadly Pandemic

Plus, Gigi Hadid’s pasta cabinets, and more news to start your day

Ted Cruz with a face mask on. Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Ted Cruz calls out “waiters and waitresses” for not wanting to return to work thanks to the $600/week unemployment check

With the coronavirus stimulus package’s extra $600 weekly unemployment payments set to expire at the end of this month, lawmakers are locked in a largely bipartisan conflict over whether to extend the $600/week checks during the worst unemployment crisis in modern history, or to reduce the amount of additional aid as a way to get people to return to work.

As the Washington Post reports, “Republicans do not want to extend the full $600-per-week benefit, which they insist provides a disincentive for people to go back to work.” Ted Cruz (R-Texas) echoed the party sentiment on a July 26 Face the Nation appearance, in which he called out “waiters and waitresses” for not wanting to go back to work as long as the extra unemployment benefits stand. Per the CBS transcript:

[T]he problem is, for 68% of people receiving it right now, they are being paid more on unemployment than they made in their job. And I’ll tell you, I’ve spoken to small business owners all over the state of Texas who are trying to reopen and they’re calling their- their waiters and waitresses … they’re calling their busboys, and they won’t come back. And, of course, they won’t come back because the federal government is paying them, in some instances, twice as much money to stay home.

Now, Cruz correctly identifies why the average worker would prefer staying home with the coronavirus unemployment check over forfeiting it in order to return to potentially risky workplaces. But he fails to extrapolate the larger, damning diagnosis from that symptom: If employers can’t compete with unemployment benefits that equate to a living wage, then there’s obviously a massive problem with how much workers — especially those in food service, janitorial, retail, and other lower paid occupational fields — are paid in this country. And, of course, he’s ignoring the health risks of forcing people back to work during a pandemic that’s claimed almost 150K lives in the U.S. alone.

Instead, Cruz opines that rather than “just shoveling trillions out the door,” lawmakers should focus on passing a recovery bill that focuses on deregulation and payroll tax suspension. That would give “a pay raise to everyone in America who’s working,” he continues. But not, you know, all the waiters and waitresses and busboys who are out of work.

And in other news…

  • McDonald’s and Chipotle are the latest major chains to require that customers wear face masks inside their restaurants. [Forbes]
  • But some of the major retailers that previously announced mask policies, including Walmart and others, will still serve customers who refuse to comply with the rule to avoid confrontations — that could escalate into violence — between angry customers and their employees, who have increasingly had to play the roles of mask watchdog, security, and bouncer. [CNN]
  • Labor advocates say that farmworkers — many of whom typically live in temporary barracks-style housing, where social distancing is close to impossible — need more protections against the coronavirus. [CNBC]
  • Over the last few months, beef producers saw their cattle prices plunge, while consumers were paying nearly double for beef at grocery stores. Where did the profit go? To beef packers, the middlemen of the meat supply chain, per a new report. [The Counter]
  • The Crossroads Tavern, a Pennsylvania bar, was forced to apologize for having a disgustingly transphobic menu item mocking the state’s trans secretary of health. [WTAJ]
  • The “hygiene theater” of focusing solely on surface cleaning and sanitizing to defeat a largely airborne virus. [The Atlantic]
  • Running a food truck during a pandemic. [Washington Post]
  • Gigi Hadid’s cabinets filled with dyed pastas… It’s called interior design, look it up sweetie:

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