One of my graduate school friends recently found himself out of a job. It was a tough slog, but at last, he and his co-founders decided to shutdown their startup and start something new. Nobody is really going to feel sorry for Greg, as he joined Google the year they went public and cashed out on a couple million dollars in stock options over the next 4 years.
His $180,000 a year salary was nothing to sneeze at either, but also nothing too spectacular in the land of $1 million dollar starter homes. In a nutshell, Greg is the typical Silicon Valley success story who busted his butt to get ahead, networked like no other, and fell victim to a downshift in the economy these past couple years.
There are literally thousands of millionaire 30-somethings in the San Francisco Bay Area who are underemployed or just not working because they haven’t found that great idea, or that premium company fit yet. Why should they bother wasting a companies’ time and enlist only to quit 6 months to a year later when something better comes along? That’s not fair to the company and so they do the right thing and wait.
When I asked millionaire Greg about his thoughts on the government extending unemployment insurance to 99 weeks he let out a big “YIHAW!” You see, Greg has been collecting unemployment insurance for the past 16 weeks via the solvent state of California, and he is worried that Obama will crack down on people like him once Federal care starts kicking in.
A MILLIONAIRE’S TAKE ON COLLECTING UNEMPLOYMENT AS A MILLIONAIRE
“Sam, I’ve paid my fair share of taxes, and yet I still feel like I’m being persecuted by big brother. When the first unemployment check for $450 came in the mail, I felt a little guilty, so I saved it. But, after a while I realized that I was simply getting the money back that I had contributed to the system for the past 10 years!”
“There shouldn’t be a difference between who can and cannot collect unemployment benefits. I might be doing slightly better than the average unemployed person out there, but I’m still looking for a job too you know. What makes a poorer unemployed person better than a rich unemployed person? Nothing.”
“Anybody in my situation is generally sick of how the government imposes restrictions on small businesses and entrepreneurs. Well, I took some risks with some old colleagues, and we failed. The $200,000 I invested in the business is real money. If the government wants to raise taxes on the people who make things great, then it is only right that we get back some of the money we gave to the government. “
“I just don’t understand why people like myself who work so hard are being vilified by the masses. What did we ever do to them? The economy really is big enough for all of us to make our fortune. Before, you had to spend hours in the library looking up research. Now, all you gotta do is Google something, do some plagiarizing, and voila! You got your essay. The slacker kids of the world should be thanking me and all my ex-colleagues at Google for allowing them to work even less!”
“I paid more than the average person into unemployment insurance since I made more than the average person. It’s simple math really. 10% times $180,000 = $18,00 a year = $180,000 in contributions over the 10 years I’ve been working! Meanwhile, the median salaried unemployed person working for 10 years in the Bay Area only contributed about $80,000 ($80,000 X 10% X 10 years). I deserve my money, especially since there’s a cap on unemployment distribution!
“$450 a week isn’t that much Sam. I mean, I just dropped $300 bucks on drinks tonight for all our free-loading fools! I got to be honest, I want to join free-loader nation as well, but then I remind myself that I paid $216,000 into the system over the past 10 years! The government expects me to live off $150 for the remaining 6 days? One steak dinner for two and my weekly budget is wiped out. Give me a break!”
After the 5th drink…
“The great irony is that I’m a hard core Liberal/Democrat who like many, are all for extending unemployment benefits to as long as possible while I was working. So weird that once I stopped working, and started collecting, I’m afraid to tell anybody I am collecting. Liberals of the world, unite!”
“Is that girl looking at me funny? I hope she isn’t a mean Republican.”
“Do you think it’s too hot to go to Prague in August for a couple weeks?”
AND SO WE REASON
Greg clearly believes he shouldn’t be discriminated against for collecting unemployment just because he’s rich. Greg also doesn’t believe in discriminating against your race, sex, or creed either. Greg is a pretty modern guy, wouldn’t you say?
Your toes might start curling and steam might start erupting from the top of your head after reading his statements, but do recall that these are sound bites from a private conversation. Ask yourself, what’s it to you that Greg is collecting money from the government? You might just find out that the problem is with you!
Greg isn’t going about smugly proclaiming to all his friends that he’s a multi-millionaire who is getting some $1,800 a month in unemployment insurance for the next 99 weeks. No, Greg pretends to be glum about the job prospects of the economy to his friends and family. Greg was very generous with his unemployment benefits that night at the bar. Now, if he decided to buy us bottom shelf drinks, that’s another story!
Readers, what’s your take on millionaires collecting unemployment benefits and why?
Should we carry taxation discrimination farther (progressive tax) and bar certain folks who make above a certain amount from collecting unemployment insurance?
Anybody coming around to the idea that it’s wrong for those 47% not paying taxes to raise taxes on the other 53% yet?
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”
Follow on Twitter @FinancialSamura and subscribe to our E-mail or RSS feed.