Goya Foods chief executive Bob Unanue blasted the federal government for stepping in as a “competitor” to private companies by “incentivizing” people to quit their jobs.

During an interview with Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney, Unanue said that his firm is experiencing “an unfair competitive disadvantage with big government from one year to the next.” 

“Last year with COVID, we were working and we were a capitalist society,” he explained. “When the government stepped in and started printing money and giving it out and telling people, you don’t need a reason to get up in the morning.”

In addition to reducing the availability of labor, government stimulus has worsened inflation and contributed to the supply chain crisis. Unanue noted that Goya’s wages have risen by 70%, while the cost of shipping some goods has increased more than tenfold.

“We are heading for hard times,” Unanue said. “We are dismantling this country. We’re getting soft. We have the government as our biggest competitor. Government needs to get out of the way and let us work.”

In earlier comments to Fox Business, Unanue stressed the impact of inflation on Goya’s operations. The executive said that “inflation is here to stay at least for a good while and everybody has these costs.”

Following the spread of COVID-19 and the lockdown-induced recession, the federal government has spent trillions on economic stimulus — including one-time checks and enhanced unemployment payouts. American voters now signal a high willingness to receive additional COVID-19 stimulus checks — with one petition for $2,000 monthly handouts receiving nearly three million signatures. A January survey revealed that 78% of Americans — including 90% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans — approved of the $1,400 checks supported by President Biden at the beginning of his administration.

A recent analysis from Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee argues that a significant share of the young men who receive welfare from the government are “voluntarily disconnected” from work.

“Only 12 percent of inactive, prime-age, able-bodied men said they wanted a job or were open to work,” the report explained. “Among men who are inactive for reasons other than disability, retirement, education, or homemaking, 41 percent personally receive government assistance.”

“One key piece of evidence that suggests labor force trends are driven largely by workers, not employers, is that the decline in prime-age labor force participation has been mostly voluntary, as told by the men themselves,” it continued. “Three out of four disconnected men say they do not want a job, and only 12 percent of inactive, prime-age, able-bodied men said they wanted a job or were open to it in 2014. If more men are genuinely choosing to stay home with the kids, go to school, or retire early, policymakers should not be concerned.”

“A significant body of empirical evidence suggests that government transfers — especially those without work requirements — tend to lower employment. For example, labor force participation and earnings fall after receiving housing assistance, losing Medicaid coverage increases employment and gaining the coverage can reduce it, and the introduction of the food stamp program in the 1960s and 1970s decreased employment significantly.”

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