I believe that government programs are money pits. Like old, rickety houses, they demand more and more of your hard-earned cash in order to stand upright and resemble something somewhat pleasing to live with.
In an old home, the furnace will blow, the pipes will burst, the roof will leak, and just as you've sunk another chunk of your nest egg into a repair, something else will go wrong. Government programs are much the same way in that the need for constant influxes of cash never goes away.
Government is a necessary evil. We need roads. We need elected officials. We need cops and firemen. What we don't need are government programs. They are unsustainable and riddled with fraud and abuse. Take Medicare and Medicaid for example. Even the Government Accountability Office admits that it's a high-risk program. It's estimated that 20 percent of Medicare and Medicaid payments are fraudulent. That's a lot of my money in someone else's pockets.
I challenge anyone to find me one government program that isn't subject to large amounts of waste, fraud, and abuse. From padded pensions in New York to embezzlement at the Department of Agriculture, abuse of the system is rampant.
One of the latest government entitlement programs was meant to encourage potential home buyers to, you know, actually buy a home. Since the housing bubble bust, many people are afraid to dip their toes into the real estate pool. So the geniuses in DC decided that people buying homes should receive a credit of several thousand dollars toward the down payment of a new home.
What could possibly go wrong? Aside from the fact that it's completely immoral to take money out of Bill's wallet and give it to Jane to buy a house, it's yet another program just waiting to be abused.
According to an AP report out Wednesday morning:
Nearly 1,300 prison inmates wrongly received more than $9 million in tax credits for homebuyers despite being locked up when they claimed they bought a home, a government investigator reported Wednesday.
The investigator said 241 of the inmates were serving life sentences.
In all, more than 14,100 taxpayers wrongly received at least $26.7 million in tax credits that were meant to boost the nation's slumping housing markets, said the report by J. Russell George, the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration.
Prisoners. Do you feel good about your hard-earned cash going to cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eaters, some of whom are serving time for violent crimes? I don't.
The IRS says it's doing the best it can, having blocked 400,000 questionable claims. In a statement, the IRS said, "These aggressive efforts have saved taxpayers more than $1 billion."
That's like me bragging about saving money on the shoes I bought on sale. Who cares if I saved $25 if I still spent $75? Especially if I used someone else's money to purchase them.
How much money has to be thrown into an old house before the owners decide to abandon it to save their sanity? How much fraud and abuse and waste do we have to witness before realizing that government programs are ineffective at best and fraudulent at worst?
How much is too much?