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Old 12-06-2011, 04:17 PM   #41
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While fraud certainly exists, I think the fundamental issue is that we have vast numbers of people in this country that don't make a wage sufficient to support a family, and have low prospects of having that change.

Think about all of the people you interact with in businesses day to day. All of the cashiers at Target, Walmart, grocery stores, fast food places, Home Depot, convenience stores, coffee shops, etc. All the telemarketers, all the people working in day care centers, and providing care in homes and nursing facilities.

Most of those people are very lucky if they make $10/hr. Most of them do not have health benefits. There are tens of millions of them. If they have children, they probably qualify for SNAP (food stamps). Looking at the math of their situation, I don't feel that most of them are "gaming the system."

Food stamps used to be a program for people who weren't working. The painful fact today is that it is now a program that is used to provide support to people who are working.


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I suspect there are very few people who begrudge the social safety net our system provides - 'there but for the grace of...' And I think almost everyone is willing to pay taxes & fees to help those who really can't help themselves for whatever reason. But with 1 in 6 receiving benefits, people probably can't help but wonder if the corruption that you mention isn't more widespread than we should accept or want to afford. It's not hard to find examples of people who seem to be gaming the system, though it's very hard to know for sure. I've seen it at my local grocery store a hundred times, and cashiers will tell you they see it all the time.
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:29 PM   #42
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It seems politics are closer to the surface here lately, though an old hand told me it's probably because we're coming up on a Presidential election (which makes sense).
Yup. Soon, I plan on crawling into a hole, and pulling in the hole after me 'for the duration'. I'll come out after the smoldering embers of the Internet have cooled.

I've been through this drill on message boards, and earlier on USENET newsgroups, every election cycle since 1984. :-(
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:01 PM   #43
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This article, which was the first one I read about this situation, names the couple (the male partner is apparently a successful chiropractor) and indicates that they may not actually be married (or may have hidden that fact when requesting benefits).

Welfare fraud investigators raid $1.2 million Lake Washington home - seattlepi.com


I wonder what percentage of welfare spending goes toward monitoring and fraud prevention. This is one of the catch 22 elements of the situation. There will always be some people who try to cheat the system. So what percentage of limited resources do you put into trying to prevent/catch that. Seems like there was not enough due diligence done in this case, though.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:01 PM   #44
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And now for something related but entirely different:

Quote:
A Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and staged a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said Tuesday.
The Associated Press: State: Mom who shot kids, self denied food stamps
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:22 PM   #45
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Yup. Soon, I plan on crawling into a hole, and pulling in the hole after me 'for the duration'. I'll come out after the smoldering embers of the Internet have cooled.

I've been through this drill on message boards, and earlier on USENET newsgroups, every election cycle since 1984. :-(
Yep me too, about 25% of the posts here fill me with some hope, the rest just make this old socialist smile.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:22 PM   #46
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And then there's the disgruntled snake charmer in India who was denied a land grant and let 40 cobras loose in the state tax office.

Not a bad idea. Imagine the potential market in importing cobras!
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:28 PM   #47
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And now for something related but entirely different:

The Associated Press: State: Mom who shot kids, self denied food stamps
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:42 PM   #48
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Yup. Soon, I plan on crawling into a hole, and pulling in the hole after me 'for the duration'. I'll come out after the smoldering embers of the Internet have cooled.

I've been through this drill on message boards, and earlier on USENET newsgroups, every election cycle since 1984. :-(
Got any spare room in there?
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:00 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhamo
This article, which was the first one I read about this situation, names the couple (the male partner is apparently a successful chiropractor) and indicates that they may not actually be married (or may have hidden that fact when requesting benefits).

Welfare fraud investigators raid $1.2 million Lake Washington home - seattlepi.com

I wonder what percentage of welfare spending goes toward monitoring and fraud prevention. This is one of the catch 22 elements of the situation. There will always be some people who try to cheat the system. So what percentage of limited resources do you put into trying to prevent/catch that. Seems like there was not enough due diligence done in this case, though.
I have often wondered that too since, you always here about cutting waste and fraud, to help balance the budget, but I dont often see a plan. The system to me anyways seems set up to assist more than catch the fraudulant activity. If you create a fruad department, well you might just increase fraud and inefficiency How about highering retired accountants and policemen who work for free, but get 25 cents on the dollar for every recoverable dollar of fraud. Could possibly make many people millionaires and save government millions at the same time!
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:07 PM   #50
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I have often wondered that too since, you always here about cutting waste and fraud, to help balance the budget, but I dont often see a plan. The system to me anyways seems set up to assist more than catch the fraudulant activity. If you create a fruad department, well you might just increase fraud and inefficiency How about highering retired accountants and policemen who work for free, but get 25 cents on the dollar for every recoverable dollar of fraud. Could possibly make many people millionaires and save government millions at the same time!
Great idea, but of course it runs against the bureaucratic imperative, which is to increase budget and headcount without cease.

ha
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:16 PM   #51
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Ah, USENET... Those were the good old days.

I'd hazard a guess that anywhere and anytime there is money involved, there is fraud, waste, and abuse...
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:31 PM   #52
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Great idea, but of course it runs against the bureaucratic imperative, which is to increase budget and headcount without cease.

ha
Unfortunately that happens alot. I ran a summer government work program and came in with all work done over 10% under budget. I thought they would be happy, they were upset because they said the budget would get cut next year, and it was too late to spend the extra money to do anything about it. I didnt get told the rules of the game before I went to work! I know for a fact I could make a good living working for a school, procuring cheaper prices for purchase orders that have been approved to buy and just working on commision of dollars saved.
Governments just arent as ruthless in cost cutting as businesses are. I remember taking a masters degree class in accounting and the business professer ( he was a businessman, not an academic professor) asked a question on how you get the 5% discount for goods paid in full by 20 days of receipt of order, yet you need this money for something else at the immediate time. I remember we all guessed some, but couldnt come up with the answer. He told them the answer is you take the 5% off the bill and pay it two months late anyway. If they complain you tell them to go to hell and if they want your business in the future, you wont say another word about it!
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:32 PM   #53
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In the absence of a story with more details, I don't think any of us are qualified to make a judgment on this. These stories about possible welfare cheats are always good for ratings/subscription numbers etc, and are also good at generating long threads in discussion forums, as has been evidenced here.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:24 PM   #54
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May be a bit off topic but might not be. One year for Christmas my brothers, sisters and I decided that rather than give presents to each other we would sponsor a family. My brother contacted social services for the name of a family. We all did our part, bought presents for the parents and children and my brother delivered the gifts Christmas morning. He came back shaking his head. Two relatively new SUV's in the driveway, flat screen T.V., toys galore in the living room. He was asked to hurry up because they were leaving on the Christmas vacation.
We didn't do it again. There are people in need that need help but I am not sure contacting social services was the best route.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:27 PM   #55
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Overall, likely the best plan is to spend the money yourself. At least you know you will enjoy it.

Ha
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:52 PM   #56
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So what percentage of limited resources do you put into trying to prevent/catch that. Seems like there was not enough due diligence done in this case, though.
If you are running a government agency that is tasked to give away money, you put darn little effort into catching cheaters. Why do it? It causes trouble, it results in fewer families helped and less money given out (the metrics by which you are promoted), and it's just not your job. Nor is it your money.

It's like the people who note how little Medicare spends on admin fees and overhead. Well, part of the admin fees and overhead in a real insurance company goes to fraud prevention, and it saves a lot of money. Medicare puts a low priority on this, so we see frequent outrages and waste lots of taxpayer money. But they are "efficient."
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:15 AM   #57
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While fraud certainly exists, I think the fundamental issue is that we have vast numbers of people in this country that don't make a wage sufficient to support a family, and have low prospects of having that change.

Think about all of the people you interact with in businesses day to day. All of the cashiers at Target, Walmart, grocery stores, fast food places, Home Depot, convenience stores, coffee shops, etc. All the telemarketers, all the people working in day care centers, and providing care in homes and nursing facilities.
This requires us willingly to pay more as consumers, to get less from our portfolios as pensioners, etc, etc.

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Most of those people are very lucky if they make $10/hr. Most of them do not have health benefits. There are tens of millions of them. If they have children, they probably qualify for SNAP (food stamps). Looking at the math of their situation, I don't feel that most of them are "gaming the system."

Food stamps used to be a program for people who weren't working. The painful fact today is that it is now a program that is used to provide support to people who are working.
This makes any welfare or entitlement program frauds even more outrageous and worse now.

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Great idea, but of course it runs against the bureaucratic imperative, which is to increase budget and headcount without cease.
If I give my after tax dollars to some efficient and reputable charities, at least I feel more confident my help will get good and wise use. I can only have good faith when government does it for me, supposedly.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:37 AM   #58
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Of course, part of the overhead in private insurance companies also goes to making it so incredibly painful to file legitimate claims that people eventually just give up and pay them themselves.

My experiences with private health insurance don't exactly make me want to rush out and cancel Medicare.

I've been very happy with my experiences with auto and home insurance though. I expect that that has something to do with actually having a viable competitive insurance market in those areas.


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It's like the people who note how little Medicare spends on admin fees and overhead. Well, part of the admin fees and overhead in a real insurance company goes to fraud prevention, and it saves a lot of money. Medicare puts a low priority on this, so we see frequent outrages and waste lots of taxpayer money. But they are "efficient."
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:51 AM   #59
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:59 AM   #60
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I was wondering if Ebenezer was going to show up.
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