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Alexandra Preate
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(WASHINGTON, DC - December 20, 2022) — A new study by Committee to Unleash Prosperity economists
Casey Mulligan, Erwin Antoni and Stephen Moore finds that government payments and free health care benefits
can pay more than the annual equivalent of a $100,000 job in three states, and the equivalent of an $80,000 a year
job in 13 states.

The national average of unemployment and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) subsidies for a family of four
with two parents receiving UI benefits is the equivalent of more than $60,000 a year in cash and benefits.

The study authors conclude that these high benefits are a major reason that labor force participation is at or near
a record low today and that there are still at least three million fewer Americans working today than before
COVID. Adding to the problem, the authors conclude, is that most of the landmark work requirements in the
1996 Welfare Reform Bill have been removed and so workers are slower to get back on the job when they lose
a job.

The three states that offer benefit packages of more than $100,000 are Washington, New Jersey and

The study also finds that in several states even families with an income above $400,000 a year can be eligible for
taxpayer subsidized health care coverage.

In roughly half the states today, while receiving UI and health insurance subsidies, an unemployed couple can
earn more than a fire fighter, a construction worker, a retail clerk, or a machinist earns from working 40 hours a
week. For a parent to take a job that earns $20 an hour could lead to a reduction in family income in roughly half
the states.

“We all believe in a reliable safety net for when Americans lose a job or can’t work,” said study co-author Stephen
Moore. “But it isn’t fair to the hard-working Americans who put 40 hours a week on the job, that neighbors who
aren’t working a single hour can receive a higher income from not working and collecting benefits. Work
requirements and time limits on benefits must be reinstated to help our economy grow and as a matter of fairness
to those who are working.”

High benefits without work requirements are making it very difficult today for employers to find willing
workers. Federal data shows that there are nearly 10 million unfilled jobs today in America.
In some states families can earn over six figures annually in unemployment benefits.

Many programs, like the supplemental nutrition assistance program (a k a food stamps), are means tested, so
that only low-income people qualify for them. But other handouts are not — including unemployment
insurance and ObamaCare subsidies.

A few of the study’s key findings are listed below:

• In 24 states, unemployment benefits and ObamaCare subsidies for a family of four with no one working are
the annualized equivalent of at least the national median household.

• A family making almost a quarter of a million dollars annually still qualifies for ObamaCare subsidies in
every state.

•  In a dozen states, the value of unemployment benefits and ObamaCare subsidies exceeds the salary and
benefits of the average teacher, construction worker, electrician, firefighter, truck driver, machinist or retail

•  In New Jersey, a family of four can receive benefits equal to an annualized earned income of $108,000 with
no one working.

•  In Connecticut and New Jersey, a family earning $300,000 a year can receive ObamaCare subsidies

•  New Jersey is a state where a family can earn the equivalent of $100,000 a year if both parents are
collecting unemployment benefits and ObamaCare subsidies for health care. In Connecticut the benefits can
reach $80,000.




About The Committee to Unleash Prosperity -

The Committee to Unleash Prosperity is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to increasing
awareness and understanding of the principles of free enterprise and limited government through education
and media outreach. CTUP disseminates its research and information through reports as well as frequent op-
eds and media appearances. In addition, our Unleash Prosperity Hotline e-newsletter reaches thousands of
citizens and thought leaders each day with data and insider updates.

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