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February 11, 2011 06:26 PM UTC

Udall takes on fight to end jobless benefits to millionaires

  • by: Denver Unemployment Examiner

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) joined three of his colleagues in a bi-partisan effort to end the payment of jobless benefits to millionaires.

Senators Udall,  Coburn (R-OK),  Tester (D-MT), and Representative James Lankford (R-OK) announced the introduction of a bill that would no longer allow for the payment of federal unemployment compensation to persons earning over $1 million per year – a savings of over $100 million over the next five years.  

“Unemployment insurance is a critical, temporary, safety net for Americans who need help getting by,” said Senator Mark Udall of Colorado. “But making Coloradans pay for unemployment insurance for millionaires isn’t fiscally responsible – and frankly, it doesn’t make sense. Especially at a time when money is tight and our debt is out of control, we should be looking for smart, strategic ways to save money. I’m proud to work with Senator Coburn and Congressman Lankford on this common-sense proposal to save the taxpayers up to $100 million.”

Sounds a little bit unbelievable, huh?  I personally know firsthand of a case in Colorado in which a small business owner (with a net worth well more than a few million) closed the company’s doors last year due to the horrendous economic conditions that persist in Colorado.  Despite earning somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million per year, this individual is now collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

If that’s not enough, …[there’s more]…


45 thoughts on “Udall takes on fight to end jobless benefits to millionaires

  1. What would happen to the market for gilded bathroom fixtures?

    How can they keep their driveway at Aspen heated, in case they want to jet in for a nice weekend getaway in ‘the (5000 sq ft) cabin’?

    Poor and middle-class folks spend their unemployment insurance on piddly things like a mortgage, groceries and the kiddie’s school supplies?  How uninspiring!  Much better to build grand monuments to ego and wealth.  

  2. The Colorado Legislature should limit pension income exclusion and tuition program contribution deductions to those making less than $250,000 per year.  This would raise tens of millions of dollars for Colorado.

    It’s interesting to see the bipartisanship for the federal unemployment measure.  Why doesn’t the same bipartisanship exist in the Colorado Legislature?

  3. The idea that millionaires can collect UI benefits to pay for a European vacation is appalling. I was on UI off and on in 2008. It was a very thin lifeline, but without it I would have missed several mortgage payments.

    One question though – I though that somebody who voluntarily leaves a job was ineligible for UI benefits. Am I wrong? If so, it seems like a reasonable limitation that would get bi-partisan support.

    1. so it’s up to the state for the most part to define eligibility. I would be interested to see which states account for most of these millionaires receiving benefits. It wouldn’t be hard for a state to add a means testing standard to their criteria.

      I’m not surprised that millionaires are able to game the system. Business owners who define themselves as full-time employees are unlikely to file an appeal against themselves to deny benefits on the basis that they left employment voluntarily.

  4. but the quote in the press release states:

    “According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, as many as 2,840 households who have reported an income of $1 million or more on their tax returns were paid a total of $18.6 million in unemployment benefits in 2008. This included more than 800 earning over $2 million and 17 with incomes exceeding $10 million. In all, multimillionaires were paid $5.2 million in jobless benefits”

    and the amount is a bit less than $6,500 a year per household, which is within the realm of possibility.

    Some of this could be spouses of high wealth individuals who are laid off from relatively ordinary jobs and receive ordinary benefits.

    From an administrative perspective, my inclination is that the last thing that we need to do is to require the 9 million  people receiving unemployment benefits at any time time (and more in any given year) to fill out more paperwork certifying that they aren’t millionaires even though 99.96% of them are not.  It doesn’t take much extra paperwork burden to erase the savings from the new rule.  The whole point of unemployment administratively, is that it isn’t means based – you have to show that you were laid off and they you are trying to get a job and that you don’t have one.  You pay in, you get a payout.  This paperwork is bad enough as it is without unemployment bureaucrats to train to evaluate financial forms and having millions of people fill them out.  If the cost of preparing the additional paperwork, training staff to evaluate it, and having them evaluate it (with probably new computer programing expenses to boot) is more than $2 per unemployment claim, the savings is entirely lost, and even at $1 per unemployment claim, half the benefit is lost.

    It would make more sense administratively to deal with this issue as a surtax of perhaps 55% on unemployment benefits (on top of the 35% income tax rate they already pay since unemployment benefits are ordinary income), which would leave a little room for state and local income taxes, on people with an AGI of more than $1 million (or perhaps anyone in the top 35% tax bracket), and applying the proceeds of that surtax to the unemployment insurance trust fund.

            1. I mean BJ not understanding about the whole earning thing. It’s like he’s only programmed to process the master list of Borg talking points and if  something  isn’t specifically covered his processor freezes.

          1. now you’ve gone and done it.  Sh@t — now I’ll have to try to put that genie back in the bottle, and restore the space-time continuum you’ve disrupted.

            Beejover here boy!    It’s really very easy:  It’s all the fault of Obama and the leebruhls.  Understand now?

            (Don’t make me clean up your mess again Twitty — one time only buddy.)

          2. I suppose I shouldn’t expect you to see the logical fallacy here. Let’s try this again, real slow.

            If you are EARNING $1 million per year, you are EMPLOYED. Thus you do not qualify for UNEMPLOYMENT compensation, making this bill SILLY. Comprende?

            1. You really are the stupidest human on earth, aren’t you?

              Let’s make it real simple. Unemployment payments are based on what you earned while you were employed. That’s what they’re talking about, you stupid git.

                    1. Not a handout.  I pity the future of your party if people like you represent the future of it’s intellectual capital.

                    2. I understand you guys are sensitive about how you talk about your theft, but “appropriation” isn’t much better. What if I decide to “appropriate” your house tomorrow?

                1. … that keeping society from the sort of descent into chaos like the Hoover years is a very wise use of our tax dollars. But I only think that because I understand history and human nature better than you.

                    1. You missed the point, dumbass. Try reading it again – you weren’t talking about millionaires in the comment to which I replied, and therefore neither was I.

                      Question: Do I support this or no? The answer is probably not what you assumed it to be.

                      And insurance can be bought from the gov’t – what does the “I” in “SSI” stand for?

                      As others have told you, you’re ignorant. Go and research this stuff, you with your big ass elite higher education, and then come and talk.


                      He is twisting what David was trying to say.  If this is a conclusion that ‘conservatives’ come up with, it seems to not be worthwhile to try to reason with them!  I guess Republicans are not part of American society.

    1. They should, however, also contribute like the rest of us.  No SSI “bonus” where you only  contribute on part of your wages and not at all on other forms of income. (dividends)  

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