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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Fraud, waste cost taxpayers billions

Thursday, June 13, 2002

"The next time a politician rolls in town ask them what they will do to remove fraud and waste"

By any definition, $2.4 billion is a lot of money. So it's especially frustrating to hear that overpayments and fraudulent claims in unemployment benefits amounted to that much money last year. Phony Social Security numbers and illegal aliens are to blame for the bulk of the $2.4 billion in wasted taxpayer dollars.

To make matters even worse, some in the government are convinced these fraudulent numbers are only the beginning. They believe there is much more waste and abuse in the unemployment claims area. Let's hope they find the answers.

Here is the point I have made over and over again. Instead of looking for new ways to raise taxes and fuel the federal government, why can we not put the full weight of the federal government behind ending waste and abuse? Doesn't it make more sense to uncover and remove these phony claims than to raise payroll taxes to cover shortfalls in the unemployment system? Of course it makes sense. But here's why it's not done that way.

It takes hard work and lots of time to remove waste from the system. It takes a simple vote in Congress to raise taxes. We tend to take the path of least resistance and that means higher taxes and to heck with the fraud and abuse.

This problem is nothing new. Phony claims average $1.8 billion annually and have for a decade. This past year was just especially high and that's what has finally got the attention of those in charge.

An investigation uncovered the unbelievable story that just nine Social Security numbers were used by about 700 people in 29 different states to collect benefits. Seven of these phony numbers belonged to dead people. If our system of checks and balances is so poor it cannot uncover this scheme, we're in deep trouble.

The next time a politician rolls in town ask them what they will do to remove fraud and waste. And then hold them to their promise to rid the system of these abuses. If we'd all do that, believe me, we'd have tax relief and the bad guys would be in jail.

Now wouldn't that be nice!

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