Watchdog Group Shines Spotlight on Massive Federal Overpayments

( – By April 15, American citizens are required to have paid the previous year’s tax obligation and should be able to trust the government to at least keep track of the massive amounts of money that it is entrusted with. However, one watchdog group has discovered that various departments have sent hundreds of billions of dollars to people and entities that should not have been paid.

Excuse Me, How Much?!

The conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request — a law requiring “federal agencies to make their records promptly available to any person who makes a proper request for them” — for a project aimed at studying possible overpayments made. One of the Foundation’s research fellows, Rachel Greszler, performed the analysis and went over her results in an article posted to their news outlet, The Daily Signal.

Greszler focused on payments made on unemployment claims and quoted an unnamed Department of Labor official who said that when the agency tracks improper payments they essentially round to the nearest billion. She then provided a staggering number, $1 billion is equal to the Census Bureau’s estimated household median income for 2022 ($74,580) multiplied by 13,408. For a reference point, the city of Hidalgo, Texas, is estimated to have a population of 14,437.

The Constitution of the United States requires the federal government to pay for the country’s defense and to administer a system of justice for its citizens, as Greszler rightly points out. After studying the numbers that were made available, she figures that the folks in Washington, DC, shelled out $245 billion in improper payments in just 2022, the equivalent of almost $1,900 per household in America.

All one needs to do is ask themselves what they could do with that extra money. This is especially painful during the rampant inflation in the years since President Joe Biden took office, which has significantly reduced the buying power of families across the country.

Greszler’s statistical analysis found that there were 1.36 billion “weekly continued unemployment claims” filed from April 2020 to 2021, but according to government records, there should have been only 807.5 million of those to cover all the people on the unemployment rolls. In terms of dollars and “non-” cents, that means that the public’s Guardian of the Taxes (a new installment in the Marvel Universe coming… never, thank the Lord) short-changed the American people by approximately $357 billion.

Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL, 1951-1969) once allegedly said about federal overspending, “a million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.” In a tribute to his sarcastic wit, let us say that it would not be unreasonable to believe that the whirring and thumping being heard is him spinning in his grave.

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