After writing a scathing report breaking down how the Biden administration fails at helping Americans become financially stable, Heritage Foundation Research Fellow EJ Antoni expanded on how today’s welfare programs punch down on the poor.
“It’s amazing how so many of these programs, which were originally sold to the American people as not handouts to the wealthy and even the upper middle class, but a hand up to the poor, are now doing exactly the opposite of that,” Antoni said on “Fox Business Tonight” Monday.
“They are not helping people with little to no income, but instead they’re helping high-income earners,” he continued. “For example, you can make over a half a million dollars in many parts of the country and still get these ObamaCare subsidies.”
According to the co-author of a New York Post analysis, a family of four from New Jersey can receive benefits equal to an annual income of more than $108,000 with no one working. In Connecticut, families making up to $300,000 per year are eligible to receive ObamaCare subsidies.
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The monetary incentive to stay home, Antoni said, could be contributing to a nationwide worker shortage, explaining why certain industries report difficulties in getting eligible applicants to enter the workforce.
Last month, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly ticked higher, hitting the highest level in three months. Continuing claims, filed by Americans who are consecutively receiving unemployment benefits, rose slightly to 1.55 million for the week ended Nov. 12, up by 48,000 from the previous week’s revised level. One year ago, nearly 2.28 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits.
And more data has proved unemployment benefits are contributing to the relatively low labor force participation rate: Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies in 14 states, according to a new study by the nonprofit Committee to Unleash Prosperity, for a family of four with two people not working amounts to an annualized equivalent of $80,000 a year in wages and benefits.
“We only looked at two programs in this study, but for many people, when you want to get into the means-tested programs, you are eligible for an entire slew of benefits. As just one example, you can get rental assistance in Loudon County, one of the bedroom communities here in the Washington, DC area, of over $25,000 a year,” Antoni said.
Today’s fiscal policies have made it “very easy” for Americans to “get on the dole” and stay “trapped” there, the research expert added.
“For so many people, especially if you’re a single parent with children, you run into the situation where as soon as you earn even a small amount of income, all of those means-tested benefits are taken away. And so for many people, you’re better off staying on that government dole forever,” Antoni said.
The Heritage Foundation fellow reminded Americans that the politicians who serve them operate on incentives.
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“For them, the incentive is to get reelected,” Antoni noted. “And so long as we tie that incentive of reelection to all of the handouts that they can give people, this country is going to continue to go in the wrong direction.”
A Wall Street Journal poll recently confirmed Americans are expecting a worsening economy in the new year, with about two-thirds of respondents saying the economy’s trajectory is indeed headed in the wrong direction.
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FOX Business’ Megan Henney and Paul Best contributed to this report.