Some 3,000 millionaires receive jobless benefits

Rick Moran
So what?

After the economy slipped into recession in 2008, millions of Americans received unemployment benefits to make ends meet -- including almost 3,000 millionaires.According to U.S. Internal Revenue Service data, 2,840 households reporting at least $1 million in income on their tax returns that year also collected a total of $18.6 million in jobless aid. They included 806 taxpayers with incomes over $2 million and 17 with incomes in excess of $10 million. In all, multimillionaires reported receiving $5.2 million in jobless benefits.

Those numbers are a minuscule fraction of the 9.5 million taxpayers who reported receiving $43.7 billion from jobless benefits in 2008, up from 7.6 million recipients reporting $29.4 billion in benefits in 2007. Still, economists said they are surprised so many people with seven-figure incomes claimed benefits.

"It's a larger number than I would have expected," said Alan Viard, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington research organization. "But, people at any income level can lose their jobs."


There is much tut-tutting on the left over this and even an attempt to "debate" the notion that millionaires shouldn't receive unemployment benefits.

To that I say, fine. If we're going to have a means test for unemployment benefits, then the ineligible worker shouldn't have to pay into the fund in the first place.

Are people seriously making the argument that someone should be forced to pay into a dedicated fund and not have the same rights that everyone else has to tap into it when eligible?

This is nothing more than class warfare from familiar sources. While it is true most millionaires decline to apply for unemployment, trying to stop those who do is grossly unfair and probably unconstitutional.

So what?

After the economy slipped into recession in 2008, millions of Americans received unemployment benefits to make ends meet -- including almost 3,000 millionaires.

According to U.S. Internal Revenue Service data, 2,840 households reporting at least $1 million in income on their tax returns that year also collected a total of $18.6 million in jobless aid. They included 806 taxpayers with incomes over $2 million and 17 with incomes in excess of $10 million. In all, multimillionaires reported receiving $5.2 million in jobless benefits.

Those numbers are a minuscule fraction of the 9.5 million taxpayers who reported receiving $43.7 billion from jobless benefits in 2008, up from 7.6 million recipients reporting $29.4 billion in benefits in 2007. Still, economists said they are surprised so many people with seven-figure incomes claimed benefits.

"It's a larger number than I would have expected," said Alan Viard, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington research organization. "But, people at any income level can lose their jobs."


There is much tut-tutting on the left over this and even an attempt to "debate" the notion that millionaires shouldn't receive unemployment benefits.

To that I say, fine. If we're going to have a means test for unemployment benefits, then the ineligible worker shouldn't have to pay into the fund in the first place.

Are people seriously making the argument that someone should be forced to pay into a dedicated fund and not have the same rights that everyone else has to tap into it when eligible?

This is nothing more than class warfare from familiar sources. While it is true most millionaires decline to apply for unemployment, trying to stop those who do is grossly unfair and probably unconstitutional.