The COVID-19 outbreak created numerous global issues, including health, business, and increased unemployment rates. Multiple political issues significantly facilitate these issues. Therefore, unemployment insurance is the political issue to be discussed in this paper. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment rates reached an all-time high (Blustein et al., 2020). Outside the essential workers, millions of individuals applied for unemployment insurance to assist with the living costs while on temporary (permanent for some) leave. Thus, the ability to make money while not working forced many people to refuse to work. This caused a labor shortage. There are different views regarding this topic. The nurturing power model typically addresses situations like this with a “handout” approach and most likely views this as a method to combat recession. I feel it was beneficial to a certain extent, which is where the Strict Father Model comes to play. This model stresses the idea of working hard, and if they discuss several individuals with ample jobs available yet refuse to work, they are viewed as lazy. There are multiple ways in which unemployment insurance facilitated increased unemployment rates after the COVID-19 pandemic.
As stated earlier, unemployment insurance is one of the primary political factors contributing to unemployment after the COVID-19 pandemic. This factor means that individuals were provided with financial aid that motivated them not to seek employment opportunities, resulting in a labor shortage. During the pandemic, congress enacted various critical changes in unemployment insurance since many people had lost their jobs to the closure of companies to observe the COVID-19 rules enacted by the government (Lechler & De Vreese, 2019). Unemployment insurance was instrumental in providing various benefits to unemployed individuals and other people who had lost their jobs. This aid was based on financial support to help individuals cater to their daily basic needs. Perhaps, these people were provided with financial support on a weekly basis.
Initially, unemployment insurance was implemented by congress to help individuals during the hard times of the economic recession in the United States. It was instrumental in compensating for the closed business operations due to the economic recession. However, due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, congress was forced to enact a sequence of extraordinary measures to help the affected individuals. The implemented programs included; Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. According to the report released in 2021, the FPUC provides financial aid to the affected individuals weekly. Perhaps, between April and July 2020, the FPUC gave a weekly supplement of $600 (Congressional Research Service, 2022). However, this supplement was reduced to $300 by January 2021, which went all through to September. On the other hand, PUA provided unemployment insurance to people who could not work due to various issues related to COVID-19 (Congressional Research Service, 2022). This department spent a total of $131.2 billion to provide financial aid to the affected people.
As a result of the implementation of FPUC and PUA by congress, the country’s unemployment rate was witnessed since many people were unmotivated to look for employment opportunities. It is also evident that people received unemployment insurance for free with additional lower thresholds, which made many people unwilling to accept job offers in the market hence increasing the spells of unemployment in the country. In comparing the benefits of unemployment during COVID-19 and the other previous recessions, unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 time drove many people to reject job offers (Congressional Research Service, 2022). This resulted in decreased unemployment rates.
In this case, two metaphors have been applied in the construction of the frames. These metaphors are the nurturing parent model and the strict father model. The nurturing parenting model appeals to the parenting style. A good application of nurturing parent model plays a fundamental role in raising children to acquire positive roles and responsibilities as they prepare to become responsible adults (Béland, 2019). Perhaps, parents want their children to sympathize with others and acquire various skills to help them care for themselves and others. The metaphor of the nurturing model is applied to address the issues related to unemployment after the COVID-19 pandemic. Various measures enacted by congress after the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrate the application of nurturing parent model. Perhaps, the government seemed to have applied the nurturing parent model to cater to its people through the implementation of unemployment insurance. Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many businesses and companies have been closed, resulting in a loss of employment. Therefore, the government’s actions to enact unemployment insurance through congress meant that the government wanted to care for and raise its people until the closed businesses and companies were reopened.
However, the nurturing parent model did not work perfectly for all people. Since nurturing parent model teaches empathy and responsibility, many people did not demonstrate these values during the COVID-19 pandemic (Vos & van Rijn, 2021). Perhaps, unemployed people depended on unemployment insurance for survival. Many people were unwilling to look for employment opportunities since they received financial support that could cater to their basic needs. Occasionally, people could also reject job offers to continue receiving unemployment insurance. This means that the nurturing parent model did not work effectively since unemployed people did not take responsibility for looking for job opportunities that could sustain their needs after COVID-19. We can also say that the nurturing parent model was essential in influencing the well-being of individuals who could not work due to COVID-19-related issues. Some people could not work because they were mandated to isolate themselves. This means they could not get funds elsewhere to sustain their needs other than relying on unemployment insurance funds.
The metaphor of a strict father has also been used to construct frames. The model of a strict father supports the values of strict discipline enacted by the father in parenting. Fathers use this model to communicate with their children (Brugman et al., 2019). The strict father model supports discipline and morality. The primary teaching from the strict father model is that if children are disciplined, they can enter the world and succeed in everything they do. Conversely, if people are not disciplined, they cannot have the values of morality; hence they deserve to live in poverty. Children learn some moral values through the strict father model through reward and punishment. Perhaps, when they perform their duties well, they are rewarded and encouraged to continue with the same spirit. On the other side, if children perform wrong actions, they are punished to ensure that their behaviors are corrected. The strict father model can be related to people’s behavior after the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be predicted that some people violated the strict father model after COVID-19.
The actions of people to reject employment opportunities demonstrated a lack of discipline, which means that these people violated the strict father model. Perhaps, they would live in poverty if it were not for the unemployment insurance passed by congress (Brugman et al., 2019). As earlier stated, unemployment insurance was high at the beginning and kept on dropping as the cases of COVID-19 kept on decreasing in 2021 and 2022. This means that the financial aid received by unemployed people in 2021 and 2022 could not sustain all their needs. Thus, it justifies the rule of the strict father model, which depicts that if people are not disciplined, they are not moral; hence they live in poverty. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people could not work because of issues related to COVID-19. However, these people were disciplined since they adhered to the guidelines hence benefitting much from unemployment insurance.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic was greatly associated with negative aspects such as unemployment and health issues. Since many businesses and private companies were closed during the pandemic, many people were left unemployed. This forced them to apply for unemployment insurance that was passed by congress to provide financial aid to unemployed people. Many people learned that they made money without working and this drove them towards refusing to work. However, this was a big problem since people never understood that the government would cancel unemployment insurance after enacting measures to control the spread of the disease that would result in resuming of normal activities. Perhaps, the acts of people rejecting job opportunities mean that they will remain jobless in the future.
Béland, D. (2019). How ideas and institutions shape the politics of public policy. Cambridge University Press.
Blustein, D. L., Duffy, R., Ferreira, J. A., Cohen-Scali, V., Cinamon, R. G., & Allan, B. A. (2020). Unemployment in the time of COVID-19: A research agenda. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 119, 103436.
Brugman, B. C., Burgers, C., & Vis, B. (2019). Metaphorical framing in political discourse through words vs. concepts: A meta-analysis. Language and Cognition, 11(1), 41-65.
Congressional Research Service: June 24, 2022, how did covid-19 unemployment insurance … – congress (2022). Available at: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF12143 (Accessed: October 29, 2022).
Lecheler, S., & De Vreese, C. H. (2019). News framing effects: Theory and practice (p. 138). Taylor & Francis.
Vos, J., & van Rijn, B. (2021). The evidence-based conceptual model of transactional analysis: a focused review of the research literature. Transactional Analysis Journal, 51(2), 160-201.