Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Pound foolish about welfare fraud

A new year's clean slate and little happening forces the journalist to end up burrowing through piles of audits to find news. Here's my perennial beef about almost all of the investigating: it's all focused on penny-ante small-time pilfering by individuals, not the big money corporate ripoffs.

An appointee steers contracts to favored consulting firms? The fine tooth comb is used to qualify everything until the misdeed is found either negligible or not subject to proof.

But let someone, usually someone none too smart, chisel a dime here or there to feed his or her family and the Marines get called in. There was even a Republican president who lied and slandered and racially stereotyped people with a claim about an alleged "welfare queen" that turned out to be false.

We could give away public assistance to everyone who said they needed it (frankly, it's not much to begin with), without verifying their papers and we'd save tons on paperwork and bureaucracy, to which a substantial portion of the money goes.

All told the real and significant corruption is corporate, not individual.They get contracts for millions for services they perform poorly, at very low cost or not at all. In contrast, the average individual gets, at most, a below-poverty income. Time to refocus accountability on the private sector's use of the public dime.

1 comment:

william bole said...

It's a never-ending story--the preoccupation with what poor suckers are getting (or pilfering) with a scant eye toward the enormous infrastructure of public aid to the wealthiest among us. Thanks for this latest installment, Cecilio.