ANALYSIS– This should be one of the biggest stories in America. The bloated, overreaching, over-powerful, over-taxing federal government gave nearly half a TRILLION of our tax dollars for so-called ‘COVID-19 relief’ to grifters, scammers and fraudsters.
If that doesn’t cause national outrage, nothing will.
They used to say sarcastically, ‘a billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.’
Well, this is $400 billion worth of real money, and the monstrosity we call the federal government literally gave it away to criminals.
Often the fraud involved identity theft and crooks overseas. Sadly, some of those criminals might also be your next-door neighbors, family, or friends.
Everyone, it seems, ‘wanted in’ on an easy payday.
And the government gave it all to them in about three years. Fortune reported:
An Associated Press analysis found that fraudsters potentially stole more than $280 billion in COVID-19 relief funding; another $123 billion was wasted or misspent. Combined, the loss represents a jarring 10% of the $4.2 trillion the U.S. government has so far disbursed in COVID-relief aid.
That number is certain to grow as investigators dig deeper into thousands of potential schemes.
There are myriad reasons for the staggering loss. Investigators and outside experts say the government, in seeking to quickly spend trillions in relief aid, conducted too little oversight during the pandemic’s early stages and instituted too few restrictions on applicants. In short, they say, the grift was just way too easy.
“Here was this sort of endless pot of money that anyone could access,” said Dan Fruchter, chief of the fraud and white-collar crime unit at the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Washington. “Folks kind of fooled themselves into thinking that it was a socially acceptable thing to do, even though it wasn’t legal.”
It was theft. Some big; some small. But together it equaled a mass of scams so large it is unprecedented in U.S. history.
And it all occurred when America was being devastated with overrun hospitals, school closures, closed businesses, and many others who really needed help.
This is what happens when a giant faceless government bureaucracy is enabled by politicians from both parties (but generally more so from the Democrats) and detached from reality, taken from the people, and then decide who to give it to afterward.
As Fortune notes: “Too much government money, Republicans argue, breeds fraud, waste, and inflation.” And it does.
But it also shows the state of American society where almost everyone wants something for nothing and is willing to scam and steal to get it.
And in this case, both sides are to blame for the massive spending and waste.
At the height of the pandemic, President Donald Trump approved emergency aid measures totaling $3.2 trillion, according to figures from the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, and reported by Fortune.
And then came Joe Biden with his 2021 ‘American Rescue Plan’ spending another $1.9 trillion.
The committee’s most recent accounting shows that about a fifth of the $5.2 trillion (over $1 TRILLION) has yet to be fully paid out.
Perhaps they should put that on hold until they can figure out what fraudsters they will be giving it out to, and also recover the $400 billion already wasted.
At least Republicans and Democrats have agreed on one way to fix it.
They are giving the government more time to catch fraudsters with legislation passed in August To increase the statute of limitations from five to 10 years on crimes involving the two major programs managed by the Small Business Administration.
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.