Monday, November 16, 2009


Your tax dollars at work

From the November 23 National Review:

It is almost impossible to hand out truckloads of cash without some of it falling into the hands of swindlers, but Congress’s stimulus dollars seem to have been particularly susceptible to graft. This year, lawmakers expanded a program that gave first-time homebuyers a tax credit worth 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $8,000. (People who owed less in taxes than the credit was worth got checks for the difference.) The problem? As Kevin Hassett detailed in a commentary, there is no reliable way to tell whether someone is buying a home for the first time; and worse, the law did not give the IRS the authority to demand documentation that a home had been purchased at all. Anyone could simply assert that the government owed him $8,000. When the Treasury Department investigated, it found 19,300 claims based on homes that had not yet been purchased, 74,000 claims by taxpayers who probably were not first-time buyers, and more than 580 claims by taxpayers who were younger than 18 (some as young as four). They amounted to about $504 million in stolen taxpayer money. We can only hope the fraudsters spent it in a stimulative manner.

If that don't get you agitated, nothing will.

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