Soon, the rich might stop getting paid. If they lose their jobs, anyway.
Four U.S. Senators- two Democrats and two Republicans- are trying to convince their colleagues to stop sending unemployment checks to jobless millionaires.
Senators Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Mark Udall, D-Colo., Jon Tester, D-Mont. and John McCain, R-Ariz. say the government will save $100 million if it stops making unemployment payments to anyone who was earning more than $1 million before they were let go or laid off.
Right now, only 22 states screen the ranks of their unemployed for millionaires to prevent them from getting checks. This proposal would allow states to continue paying, or not paying benefits to millionaires, but federal money would be off the table.
"At a time of record deficits and debt, the last thing we should expect of the American taxpayer is to foot the bill to pad the pockets of unemployed millionaires," said Sen. McCain.
Sen. Udall concurs, adding that, "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."
Statistics released by Sen. Coburn's office indicate that based on IRS tax returns from 2008 nearly 3,000 households with incomes of at least $1 million were paid almost $20 million in unemployment benefits. Among them, 800 earned $2 million or more. About 20 were making more than $10 million.