The government sent out 89,000 checks of $250 each to deceased and incarcerated Americans as part of last year's controversial stimulus package, reports Social Security's inspector general. The funds, totaling around $22.3 million, were sent out in May of last year, with $4.3 million going to 17,000 incarcerated Americans and $18 million to people who had already died. "These findings are yet another example of congressional stupidity and a lack of accountability," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). Is that critique fair?
This is big government at work: Maybe this administration really thinks it can "stimulate the dead," says Bob Ellis at the Dakota Voice. Either way, this is yet more proof that our current government — the "most bloated in history" — is now an "inefficient beast." For the sake of our freedom and prosperity, we must begin shrinking it as quickly as possible. We can make a start on Nov. 2.
"Stimulating the dead: Your tax dollars at work"
You can't blame the administration for Social Security's mistake: In fairness, says Douglas A. McIntyre at Wall St. 24/7, the "administration was not entirely at fault." It was Social Security that sent out the checks, and the "sums of the mistake are relatively small." But this is the kind of headline that people can "hardly help but talk about incessantly." The "legacy of the checks to the dead" will go down in Washington infamy.
"Social Security sends nearly 72,000 checks to the dead"
At least the government got some of it back: There's one "startling bright spot" in this sorry story, says Louise Radnofsky at The Wall Street Journal. About 41,000 of the payments — "almost half of them" — were returned to the government. The bad news? Social Security can't retrieve money it accidentally sent out. Up to $12 million "may be sitting untouched in bank accounts of dead people." As a wise man once said, you can't take it with you.
"Stimulus checks sent to the dead"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
Subscribe to the Week