Unemployed millionaires collecting benefits

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    Oct 02, 2010 11:43 PM GMT

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-01/almost-3-000-millionaires-claimed-jobless-benefits-in-2008-irs-data-show.htmlSome 3,000 Millionaires Claim Jobless Benefits, IRS Data Show

    In addition to the millionaires, 8,011 households reporting income between $500,000 and $1 million in 2008 claimed jobless benefits totaling $52.8 million, the IRS data show.

    Still, Williams said the numbers remind him of stories he heard earlier in his career about movie actors who collected unemployment benefits between pictures.

    “These were people comparable to your millionaires who clearly didn’t need the money but collected it nonetheless,” he said.
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    Oct 03, 2010 12:08 AM GMT
    People commonly become millionaires because they found loopholes in the system.
    This is not a surprise that they found another one.
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    Oct 03, 2010 12:16 AM GMT
    But it's chump change compared to what they've earned the year before...do they really REALLY need to get that money from the government, even though it's free? And these are some of the people most stridently arguing for waste in government...does that mean they should be part of the problem?

    OK, I might be committing the same error as SB's famous thread on wealth and a certain amount of income, but I cannot imagine all these millionaires spending excessively to the point where they actually needed the benefits check to maintain their lifestyles.

    I would never pick up a dime from the ground and pocket it, for example, both for sanitary and moral reasons. If I were a millionaire and I became unemployed, I would not go in line to pick up my benefits check.icon_razz.gif
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    Oct 03, 2010 12:31 AM GMT
    I am skeptical on this one. Research by the American Enterprise Institute published in Bloomberg sends up a hundred red flags. The AEI has made a career of promoting deregulation, cutting entitlements, cutting social programs. So, since I can't find analysis by anyone else I am going to guess that many of these people were small business owners who had a high income but used the bulk of those funds to pay wages and overhead or other similar situations.
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    Oct 03, 2010 1:10 AM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidI am skeptical on this one. Research by the American Enterprise Institute published in Bloomberg sends up a hundred red flags. The AEI has made a career of promoting deregulation, cutting entitlements, cutting social programs. So, since I can't find analysis by anyone else I am going to guess that many of these people were small business owners who had a high income but used the bulk of those funds to pay wages and overhead or other similar situations.


    I agree. There are times when statistics are somewhat meaningless and without knowing more of the context (e.g. are they small business owners or people who are asset-"rich" but income poor), it's hard to say.
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    Oct 03, 2010 1:18 AM GMT
    Well, if they are small business owners and pay other people's wages, they don't have a reason to collect unemployment benefits, right?

    And there's a link in the article to the original data from the IRS.
    Here's another article on the same theme:
    http://www.twincities.com/ci_16231296?nclick_check=1
    Hm, almost word for word...
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    Oct 03, 2010 2:04 AM GMT
    I really don't blame the government (it's just applying the law equally to everybody). And it's strictly legal for the millionaires/submillionaires to claim the benefits.

    But morally? No wonder politicians who denounced the stimulus package took their stimulus money without even getting their face red.
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    Oct 03, 2010 2:47 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidGood job, Federal government. icon_rolleyes.gif

    And to think, they are now in charge of your health care. icon_lol.gif


    Why do you have YOUR panties in a twist? First of all, state governments pay for the first part of unemployment benefits, so that's one of you hard ons address. And millionaires are your favorite kind of people, and it's benefiting them, so?
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    Oct 03, 2010 2:58 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 said...do they really REALLY need to get that money from the government, even though it's free?
    Of course they do! How else are they going to get "free" lap dances?
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    Oct 03, 2010 4:17 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 saidGood job, Federal government. icon_rolleyes.gif

    And to think, they are now in charge of your health care. icon_lol.gif


    Why do you have YOUR panties in a twist? First of all, state governments pay for the first part of unemployment benefits, so that's one of you hard ons address. And millionaires are your favorite kind of people, and it's benefiting them, so?


    More financial mismanagement by the Federal government, once again proving they just can't get it right.


    Wow. You've really stepped into "tea party"-if-we-say-it-it's-true territory. What does this article have to do with the federal government?
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    Oct 03, 2010 4:20 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidWell, if they are small business owners and pay other people's wages, they don't have a reason to collect unemployment benefits, right?

    And there's a link in the article to the original data from the IRS.
    Here's another article on the same theme:
    http://www.twincities.com/ci_16231296?nclick_check=1
    Hm, almost word for word...


    Yeah, it is still based on research by the AEI. And a small business owner could have lost their business that year. It was just an example of what may have happened with a subset of those.

    I don't feel like digging into the raw data myself. I don't know enough about our tax system to make an honest assessment of the research. I was just cautioning that the research institute is a conservative think tank with an agenda and thus caveat emptor.
  • Webster666

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    Oct 03, 2010 5:08 AM GMT
    It isn't a question of need.
    As far as I know, everybody who works gets money deducted from their pay checks for unemployment insurance.

    Should rich people not be allowed to buy fire insurance, flood insurance, health insurance, life insurance ?
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    Oct 03, 2010 8:15 AM GMT
    I don't know how the American system works; but I have seen cases in Canada of people having to repay EI (our version- employment insurance) after filing the next years tax return. In theory, you could make millions one year, then collect EI. If you made too much you would repay the benefits on some sort of a sliding scale based on that years tax return.

    If that is not in the American system I would say it is a massive oversight and a hell of a loophole.
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    Oct 03, 2010 8:21 AM GMT
    Yeah, it sucks and might seem unfair, but their employers payed into unemployment. And the millionaires have their own bills to pay as well. Why shouldn't they collect? Honestly, they have every right to collect as anyone else.
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    Oct 03, 2010 10:36 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 said
    In addition to the millionaires, 8,011 households reporting income between $500,000 and $1 million in 2008 claimed jobless benefits totaling $52.8 million, the IRS data show.


    $52,000,000 divided by 8,011 households equals $6,590 for each household.

    What's your problem here? Six and a half thousand dollars clearly isn't sufficient to support a household that used to make over $500,000. Or did I read this incorrectly?

    Moreover, the millionaires claiming benefits are probably getting the money back that was taken out of their paychecks...which was oh probably 40% of what they earned.

    Sorry but I'm staunchly Republican here. I don't see what is wrong with this situation AT ALL. As long as these people paid taxes they are just as qualified for unemployment as poor people are.
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    Oct 03, 2010 1:22 PM GMT
    from the same articleThey 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.


    But Jake, that is exactly my point. Why would somebody with an income of >$500k need that $6000? I'm sure the majority of them would have saved up assets that can get them through a year without employment.

    Unemployment benefits are a safety net, so if you have a safety net already in your bank accounts, it's rather unseemly if you just want that $5000 for kicks. It's well within your legal rights to take it, but I'm just saying for people who advocate personal responsibility vs. public welfare, it's a bit hypocritical.

    What happened to noblesse oblige?
    wikipediaIn ethical discussion, it is sometimes used to summarize a moral economy wherein privilege must be balanced by duty towards those who lack such privilege or who cannot perform such duty. Finally, it has been used recently primarily to refer to public responsibilities of the rich, famous and powerful, notably to provide good examples of behaviour or to exceed minimal standards of decency.
  • Starboard

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    Oct 03, 2010 2:28 PM GMT
    Unemployment insurance is supposed to provide temporary assistance to people who suddenly lose their income and meet certain qualifications. People who enjoy high incomes may also have large amounts of debts, high mortgages, etc. It benefits know one to have these people default on loans, etc. when they lose their jobs...and as other people have pointed out, rich people pay into the unemployment insurance system just like anyone else.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19133

    Oct 03, 2010 2:42 PM GMT
    If someone pays into the system via taxes, social security, etc., they should be entitled to the benefits of that system like everyone else, regardless of how much their income was. Just because someone might be a millionaire on paper, it doesn't mean they have all that much cash to spend. Rich people have bills just like everybody -- they are just usually bigger -- so if they lose their jobs (and income) this can be just as big of a crisis for them as it is for anybody.
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    Oct 03, 2010 2:44 PM GMT
    OK, then I'm happy that my taxpayer's worth of $6500 (probably $0.0001) has been useful to them (the 800 or so with $2 million in income) in their time of need, when they had to pay for mortgages of multimillion mansions.
    Or their weekly allowance of lap dances, as paul puts it.icon_razz.gif
    I quote again
    Still, Williams said the numbers remind him of stories he heard earlier in his career about movie actors who collected unemployment benefits between pictures.
    “These were people comparable to your millionaires who clearly didn’t need the money but collected it nonetheless,” he said.
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    Oct 03, 2010 2:45 PM GMT
    What is it about ~Insurance~ that is so difficult for some to grasp?icon_rolleyes.gif

    One pays a premium to insure your income.
    Should a millionaire not claim on a spouse`s life insurance policy when he or she dies because he is already rich?
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Oct 03, 2010 2:47 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidGood job, Federal government. icon_rolleyes.gif

    And to think, they are now in charge of your health care. icon_lol.gif



    But have a minority claim the same benefits when they really need it and conservatives call them lazy and claim it's his own fault. Interesting... icon_neutral.gif
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    Oct 03, 2010 2:49 PM GMT
    But we're talking about larger sums when talking about other types of insurance (fire, flood, health, life)...now if in their calculus of risk-benefit ratio, with bank accounts probably having way more than $6500, getting $6500 from the government is worth it, then all power to them.
    Heck, it won't even buy them 3 days in the hospital. (but it would pay for 6 months of my rent)icon_redface.gif
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    Oct 03, 2010 3:03 PM GMT
    And one has to remember where the pieces of pie are being cut from:
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/investing/millionaires-on-unemployment-there-has-to-be-a-better-system/19657740/
    To be sure, wealthy people are entitled to receive unemployment. Some even demand it. New Jersey Education Commissioner Brett Schundler, who retired from Wall Street, told the media that he insisted that Gov. Chris Christie fire him after a row over a botched federal education funding request so he could collect benefits. It can't be for the money. Benefits average $300 a week.

    Like those in the middle class, the wealthy may argue that they should reap the benefits of the taxes they have paid over the years. But the U.S. economy is in such bad shape that the government must change the way that it doles out expensive entitlement programs such as unemployment. Budget deficits in 46 states equal $112 billion for the fiscal year ending next June, thanks in part to the costs of assisting the jobless. States pay for the first 26 weeks of unemployment.

    Giving aid to those who are wealthy but entitled leaves less for the poor and needy. There has to be a better way.


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    Oct 03, 2010 3:29 PM GMT
    It is an insurance program, so if what you are saying is that the government should evaluate the financial position of each of the recipients of a program for which someone is legally entitled, then you don't grasp the concept. May I suggest using your time on something productive, law school?
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    Oct 03, 2010 5:08 PM GMT
    Sorry, I'm too busy watching TV on my PC while I waste time away on here...icon_redface.gif

    Again, I'm not saying this is anything legally wrong, I'm just saying that it's rather morally bankrupt. Plus all the trouble they have to go through to get unemployment benefits...I'm sure their accountants or lawyers got more money advising them to get those benefits in that hour than they got for the whole month!
    http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/unemployment/a/unemployment.htm