Stimulating Stuff!

Some years ago, there was a television ad for a well-known brand of Dutch beer that claimed it “reached parts other beers cannot reach”. It could be a good election slogan for the Democrats.

Historically, the party has appealed to the dead voter, with great numbers of the deceased temporarily slipping out of the sarcophagus to visit the polling place. One would think that they would have had enough of politics while in the mortal world. Perhaps they can see a kindred spirit in the Democrats, the difference being that they refuse to lie down despite being dead in the water.

In gratitude for this electoral service, the government has given them $18 million of stimulus money, with 72,000 deceased each receiving $250. A further $4.3 million went to 17,000 prison inmates.

Mistakes happen. As someone I know is likely to say, “That’s why a pencil has an eraser on the other end”. Two things are worrying about this issue, though. The first is the apparent lack of checks carried out before parting with large amounts of taxpayers’ money. A recent CBS ’60 Minutes’ featured an article on a Medicare scam which has cost the taxpayer $60 billion… non-existent pharmacies billing Medicare for prescription drugs.

We all know that a vast percentage of stimulus money has been going to the wrong places when, if it had to be implemented at all, it should have been used in the form of tax breaks to support new and existing businesses and industries which are the mainstay of the American economy.

The other point of concern is that the government does not seem to know who is alive and who is dead, who is free and who is incarcerated… or even who has genuine citizenship documents and who does not. If the news reports are correct, it took the Social Security Department at least three years to notice something a little ‘hinky’ in Nicky Diaz’s credentials.

The US should have the most sophisticated government computer systems in the world. It certainly has a huge, ever-growing percentage of its population working for government. These two factors combined should make serious errors more rare, rather than the regular occurrence they seem to be.

I hope the security agencies’ due diligence is a little more advanced. It’s bad enough having them mess with people’s tax money, even worse to risk the security of the country.

(Editor Dee is in for Skip today)