Report says Minnesota couples can earn over $90,000 not working

"The expansion of the welfare state has created situations where work often doesn’t pay," the study’s co-authors argue.


According to a new study conducted by the libertarian-leaning Committee to Unleash Prosperity, Minnesota ranks among the worst states in the Union when it comes to government benefits disincentivizing people from work.

“Welfare pays more than or nearly as much as respectable middle-class jobs,” Steve Moore, Casey Mulligan, and E.J. Antoni wrote in a New York Post opinion piece last week. That “might explain why so many businesses can’t get workers back on the job almost three years after COVID-19.”

Moore is the founder of the Club for Growth and a former member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board. Mulligan is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. Antoni works as a research fellow for the D.C.-based Heritage Foundation.

They authored a study — titled “Paying Americans Not to Work” — that calculates the monetary value of subsidies related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), unemployment insurance, child tax credits, and food stamps. Taken collectively, the study purports to show that government assistance is now having a negative impact on the American people.

“Those temporary [COVID-19] benefits have expired but this study finds that even with existing unemployment benefits and the dramatic recent expansion of ObamaCare subsidies, a spouse would have to earn more than $80,000 a year from a 40 hour a week job to have the same after-tax income as certain families with two unemployed spouses receiving government benefits,” the report says. “In these states, working 40 hours a week and earning $20 an hour would mean a slight REDUCTION in income compared to two parents receiving unemployment benefits and health care subsidies.”

“In 24 states, unemployment benefits and [Obamacare] subsidies for a family of four with both parents not working are the annualized equivalent of at least the national median household income,” the authors continue.

According to the trio’s findings, Minnesota ranks 4th in the U.S. when it comes to dolling out benefits in relation to annual salary. On a chart in the report, Minnesota is behind just New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Washington with $98,915 in “Earned Income Equivalent” for unemployed couples with dependents.

Excluding ACA subsidies, Minnesota is also 4th in the nation when it comes to benefits paid out to two unemployed parents with two dependent children, with $92,344 in “Earned Income Equivalent.”

“The expansion of the welfare state has created situations where work often doesn’t pay,” the study’s co-authors argued in the New York Post. “Until the unemployment runs out, there is very little incentive to go back to work, especially when the family is receiving more than their blue-collar counterparts who are on the job.”

Last month, the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits was the highest it’s been since August. Inflation also skyrocketed earlier this year, having ballooned to a 40-year high in June at 9.1%. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.7 trillion spending bill that includes funds for Planned Parenthood and other liberal pet projects.


Stephen Kokx

Stephen Kokx, M.A., is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. He previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago under the late Francis Cardinal George. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching and politics. His essays have appeared in such outlets as Catholic Family News and