The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Covid Theft

The Covid pandemic debacle is the most profound example of government dishonesty, incompetence, ineffectiveness, waste, and authoritarianism in my lifetime. It did virtually nothing to blunt the effects of a flu-like virus that was statistically little more that a bad cold for any healthy person under the age of 60. Yet, the federal and many state governments, with the help of a dishonest media and a cowed medical/public health establishment, shut down the country, mandated ineffective and (now we have learned) health-threatening masks, shuttered schools, closed public places (e.g., playgrounds, outdoor basketball courts, parks, beaches), touted "vaccines and boosters" that did NOT stop infections, did NOT stop the spread, and did have serious side effects that were unreported and then censored. If you've read dozens of Covid-related posts in this blog over the past three years, you already knew all of that.

Now we learn that the feds and their pawns at the state level allowed the hysteria that they themselves encouraged to precipitate the theft of an estimated $135 billion in federally funded emergency unemployment benefits that were only necessary because they mandated the shutdown of the economy. But that's just part of the theft. The government's own SBA reports:

... the SBA disbursed over $200 billion in potentially fraudulent COVID-19 EIDLs, EIDL Targeted Advances, Supplemental Targeted Advances, and PPP loans. This means at least 17 percent of all COVID-19 EIDL and PPP funds were disbursed to potentially fraudulent actors.
So, we're looking at an estimated $335 billion (the actual number is most likely significantly higher) that was stolen as Covid hysteria reigned.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal report on the unemployment piece:

The $135 billion finding places the pandemic unemployment program in a new tier of government disaster. Fraud claimed 11% to 15% of the nearly $900 billion that Washington paid out over three years. The theft rate is another demerit for a program that caused incredible harm even when it worked as planned. Federal and state governments provided an incentive for millions of people not to work with a $600 weekly jobless bonus in 2020 and up to 79 weeks of total unemployment benefits.

The GAO reports that states had recovered only $1.2 billion of stolen payments by May, out of about $56 billion of identified fraud cases. Recoveries have been sluggish despite $1.4 billion in federal aid to help states track and penalize fraudsters.

House Republicans passed a bill in May that boosts the incentive to recoup stolen payments, letting states keep up to a quarter of the federal cash they get back. Yet few Democrats signed on, the Senate hasn’t voted on it, and the White House blasted the bill as a threat to Washington’s “well-functioning UI system.”

Well-functioning? In a sane government, the fraud explosion would be a call to action. But in today’s Washington all that matters to politicians is how much money they can spend, not whether it’s wasted or stolen.

In reality, there is absolutely no incentive for government to make any legitimate attempt to reduce, much less eliminate, fraud and waste. The $335 billion will NOT be uncovered. As usual, the shrinking number of honest taxpayers will (as they always do) cover the loss. No federal or state employee will be demoted or fired for incompetence. Not one.

The inflationary effects of trillions of dollars injected into the economy will last for years and act as a hidden tax on every American. 

And the hysterics who supported the mendacious fools who were the authors of this mess will allow confirmation bias to cloud the reality that they were grifted. That the months or years they spent hiding in their basements was time unnecessarily lost—even after they contracted the virus anyway. And now, some of those same hysterics are advocated for re-masking as yet another Covid "variant" is trotted out to frighten them. Incredible.

There is no adjective that adequately describes the idiocy of mass hysteria that led to all this. There is no level of condemnation that adequately addresses the stupidity or complicity of government functionaries who didn't or wouldn't recognize the opportunity for theft and put mechanisms in place to prevent it.