Murphy’s Law is ever-present when it comes to the government handing out money like it’s nothing – which is what it’s quickly becoming.
Since the start of the expansion of unemployment benefits back when the Covid lock-downs began, it is now being estimated that no less than half of all dispersed unemployment funds were sent to fraudsters. The total amount? 400 billion dollars (yes, with a B).
Even more disturbing is that analysts have projected that more than half of those fraudulent claims came from outside of the United States. For summation, this means that nearly 300 billion dollars were heisted by foreign adversaries and criminal organizations since the start of these expanded benefit programs. These expanded programs, apparently, also broadening the qualifications for unemployment funds to people willingly doing the country harm.
So did this happen?
In most cases of fraud, a potential, eligible recipient has their unsecured personal information stolen by hackers or is tricked into turning over that information to a criminal party masquerading as a government or banking authority. If the findings on the scale of these fraudulent claims are accurate, it is a dire and unprecedented indication that the number of people whose sensitive information has been compromised is several orders of magnitude higher than ever expected.
And while victims of fraud are often not free of blame – many, again, turning over their information themselves – the sheer scale of this epidemic of fraud lies just as well with the government. Thresholds to receive tax-payer-funded relief are low; the safeguards and verification process of applicants is observably inadequate. The deficit spending approved by Congress in April of 2020 to provide checks to families was met by 7 million new applicants each week – completely swamping the system.
Even despite these figures, even legitimate claims and recipients are causing tremendous harm to the economy. The sums of money being given to people are often greater than the paychecks they’re used to receiving, eradicating incentive to work and produce during a time when shortages and price hikes have struck all sectors. Why work and make less?
Which would you choose? 20 dollars an hour to do nothing, or 21 dollars an hour to flip burgers? Most people will go with the 20. So how much more do you have to offer to motivate people? How will the price of the product be affected as a result? All questions that Washington likely never even thought to ask.