How Expansive Welfare Benefits Can Make Being on Dole More Lucrative Than Working

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by EJ Antoni,

from Daily Signal,

Kids love Santa. They don’t have to work for the stuff on their Christmas lists. He just gives it to them.

In many states, gratuitous welfare benefits have made that childhood fantasy an adult reality. Professor Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago and I have found that some families can receive the annualized equivalent of a six-figure income with no one working—and you’re paying for it.

In New Jersey, for instance, a family of four with no one working can receive unemployment benefits equivalent to a job paying over $96,000. That’s more than the median household earns in wages and benefits combined.

And while the pandemic-related unemployment benefits have ended, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) subsidies have just kept expanding. A program that was sold to the American people as a hand up for the poor has quickly been transformed into a handout for upper-income earners.

In some parts of the country, a family of four earning over half a million dollars still qualifies for Obamacare subsidies. Those with a quarter-million-dollar income qualify in nearly the entire country.

The annualized value of these health care subsidies and unemployment benefits for a family of four can exceed a six-figure income. In Washington state, the amount is more than $122,000, substantially more than many blue-collar incomes.

But Washington state is not alone. In 29 states, unemployment benefits and Obamacare subsidies are worth more than the wages and benefits earned

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