3200 Millionaire Households Collected Unemployment During the Recession

This week’s WTF?!? statistic comes to us via Bloomberg News:

The U.S. government paid almost $80 million in unemployment benefits during the worst of the economic downturn to households that made more than $1 million, including a record $29.9 million in 2010, tax records show.

Almost 3,200 households — about 20 percent of them from New York — that reported adjusted gross income of more than $1 million received jobless-insurance payments averaging $12,600 in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available, according to IRS data compiled by Bloomberg. Those payments outpaced the total incomes for about 25 million U.S. households.

Here’s the thing – first, this is a shocking stat even though the total dollar figure involved is not crazy-meaningful in the grand scheme.

And second – this bullshit where we don’t do real means testing because we’re afraid to turn social programs into stigmatized welfare is almost Swiftian in its self-defeating wickedness, its elliptical absurdity. There are people who need help and people who don’t; screw the optics, let us deliver the aid efficiently and let the Culture Wars fight it out on cable TV “news” shows til the cows come home.

My god.