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15 Aug, 2020 23:22

‘Thanks, but we are good’: South Dakota rejects Trump’s unemployment help, credits lax coronavirus restrictions for swift recovery

‘Thanks, but we are good’: South Dakota rejects Trump’s unemployment help, credits lax coronavirus restrictions for swift recovery

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has said that her state is opting out of the new government-sponsored unemployment benefits boost since the economy has bounced back quickly due to the fact that it was never shut down completely.

“My administration is very grateful for the additional flexibility that this effort would have provided, but South Dakota is in the fortunate position of not needing to accept it,” Noem, a Republican, said in a statement on Friday.

Unlike many other states that are still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus-induced lockdowns, Noen said that South Dakota has weathered the storm relatively well, with its labour market almost fully recovered. The reason for that, she argued, is that South Dakota refrained from imposing strict coronavirus restrictions on businesses.

South Dakota’s economy, having never been shut down, has recovered nearly 80% of our job losses

Boasting about the quick economic turnaround in her sparsely populated state, Noem said that it was “the only state in the nation that didn’t have extended benefits kick in because our insured unemployment rate has been the lowest in the nation.”

Businesses who have been hit hard by the pandemic and still cannot open their doors are welcome in South Dakota, Noen said.

Many businesses are looking to relocate to South Dakota because of the decisions we made during the pandemic. South Dakota is open for business – that applies to our business owners and their employees

Conservatives on Twitter have praised Noen, who is also a vocal US President Donald Trump supporter, for her handling the pandemic, seeing it as testimony that her hands-off coronavirus strategy was the most effective one.

“I love this Governor.... and she supports our President,” Bill Clinton's most outspoken sexual assault accuser Juanita Broaddrick, tweeted.

‘The View’ co-host Meghan McCain also chimed in, saying that Noen was entitled to her “victory lap” for “keeping her state responsibly open while being called a murderer by the mainstream media.”

Some, however, sought to pour cold water on the approach, arguing that while it might have worked well in rural and thinly populated South Dakota, it probably would not be right for the more urban and densely populated areas.

“Governor Kristi Noem did what was best, and she was right, but it’s irresponsible for the media to assert statewide economic decisions should be equal,” a commenter tweeted.

The Lost Wages Assistance (“LWA”) program, issued by Trump on August 8 in circumvention of Congress, envisions a $400 per week benefit. Of that, $300 should come from the federal government, and $100 is supposed to be covered by the state.

Also on rt.com More than a third of Americans would not want a Covid-19 vaccine if offered – poll

The program was designed as the replacement for the recently-expired $600 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (“FPUC”) assistance.

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