The Paradox In The US – Unemployment Aid For The Wealthy
About 3,000 American millionaires have received unemployment benefits after the U.S. economy went into recession in 2008, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), quoted by Bloomberg. The total number of Americans receiving state aid in 2008 was 9.5 million.
IRS data indicate that families who reported 2840 revenues of at least one million dollars in 2008 received unemployment benefits totaling 18.6 million dollars. Among these, 806 had revenues of over U.S. $ 2 million, while 17 reported gains of over 10 million dollars.
In 2008, the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits was 9.5 million, cashing them about 43.7 billion dollars. The year before, in 2007, 7.6 million unemployed people have received aid worth 29.4 billion dollars.
Bloomberg quotes several economists who said they were “surprised” by the large number of millionaires who have applied for unemployment benefits.
Bloomberg says that financial aid for the first 26 weeks are paid by the state. Nationally, the aid amounts to about $ 300 per week. Since 2008, the government in Washington has helped to pay unemployment benefits beyond the 26 weeks paid by the state.
There are currently no data for the 2009 fiscal year.
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 Alain Viard, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington research organization. “But, people at any income level can lose their jobs.”
The first 26 weeks of unemployment benefits are paid by states. Nationally, benefits average about $300 per week. Because unemployment benefits are insurance, funded with taxes paid by employers, the program isn’t need-based like welfare. A millionaire who loses his or her job is entitled to benefits the same as a laid-off factory or restaurant worker, Viard said.11