A nonprofit released a report this month analyzing how unemployment benefits and ObamaCare subsidies in each state stacked up against employed people’s compensation.
The Committee to Unleash Prosperity report found that unemployment benefits and Obamacare subsidies alone could total up to $120,000 for the year for a family of four — that’s two unemployed parents and two children.
In 14 states, including North Dakota, Oregon, Colorado, Montana, and Minnesota, unemployment benefits and ObamaCare subsidies were found to be the equivalent to a head of household earning $80,000 in salary.
The report noted that a spouse would have to earn more than $80,000 a year from a job with a 40-hour work week to have the same after-tax income as some families with two unemployed spouses on government benefits.
The three states with the largest benefits were Washington, at nearly $123,000; Massachusetts at $117,000; and New Jersey at nearly $109,000 for the year.
There were only five states where these benefits were equivalent to under $50,000 for the year — Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, and Louisiana.
Heritage Foundation economics research fellow EJ Antoni, a co-author of the report, told The Daily Wire the ObamaCare subsidies were a substantial factor — and the threshold for qualification is shockingly high.
“You have certain places in the country where you can make over half a million dollars and you still get these subsidies,” Antoni said. “So, far from being a hand up to the poor, this has turned into a hand out for the middle and upper-income classes. And in fact, I think if people knew that, I don’t think we would have anywhere near the support a lot of these programs that you see today.”
The report also revealed that pandemic-related government benefits have not been rolled back in some places across the country.
“I think it was Ronald Reagan that said the closest thing to eternity on earth is a government program, a temporary government program,” Antoni quipped.
Labor participation has admittedly been an issue for the Biden administration. The nation is currently at 62% labor participation — 1.5% below pre-Covid levels.
Antoni said these sustained assistance boots clearly serve as a disincentive for people to rejoin or join the labor force.
“You know, you may be a machinist, you may be a truck driver, even something like a secondary school teacher — let’s say you’re teaching high school, very often times you are making less than the people who are sitting at home, not working,” Antoni noted.
Asked about how to balance a safety net without disincentivizing workings, Antoni told The Daily Wire there are two options.
“There are two things depending on how involved you want the government to be,” he responded. “The first option is to simply go back to the way things were before the government got involved. There’s actually a large body of academic and political research that shows that the more the government gets involved with … assisting with rent, or food, or education, whatever the case may be, the more they subsidize the poor, the less the rich are willing to donate to those same causes. There’s a very strong crowding-out effect that happens there. So I see no reason why we can’t go back to the way things were before we had all these government programs.”
“Despite spending over a trillion dollars on poverty, we haven’t actually changed the poverty rates, so clearly that’s not working,” he added.
“Let’s say we do want to have some kind of — not just society involvement, but government involvement,” Antoni continued. “I think the blueprint there would be looking at what the Republican Congress and the Democrat President Bill Clinton did in the 1990s, when they reformed welfare. They said the age of big government is over, and it was work-fare, not welfare.”
“Not only did we save money in the federal budget by implementing those reforms … we got people back to work,” Antoni said, noting of the attached work requirements and limits on how long someone could be on those programs.
“A big part of what these gratuitous benefits are doing is not only putting people on the dole and getting them addicted to that and stuck on there forever, but I truly believe there’s a component here that is damaging to the human spirit, because work has dignity, and without that we lose a part of our dignity, in my opinion,” the researcher added.