no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

On FEMA’s Ineptitude

June 13th, 2006

Only political bureaucracy would suggest that the proper justice to be meted out after having frivolously wasted taxpayer dollars, is to incur further burdens on those very same taxpayers.

If you haven’t already heard, the relief money doled out to the N’awlins Hurricane Katrina victim has reportedly been spent on some very… ahem, creative projects. Suffice it to say, if graft of this nature were occurring in private industry, heads would roll, share values would shrink, and bankruptcy would be inevitable. But FEMA and other supra-governmental agencies know no accountability, so we end up with this:

WASHINGTON – The government doled out as much as $1.4 billion in bogus assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, getting hoodwinked to pay for season football tickets, a tropical vacation and even a divorce lawyer, congressional investigators have found.

Prison inmates, a supposed victim who used a New Orleans cemetery for a home address, and a person who spent 70 days at a Hawaiian hotel all were able to wrongly get taxpayer help…The GAO concluded that as much as 16 percent of the billions of dollars in FEMA help to individuals after the two hurricanes was unwarranted….

“This is an assault on the American taxpayer,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the subcommittee that will conduct the hearing. “Prosecutors from the federal level down should be looking at prosecuting these crimes and putting the criminals who committed them in jail for a long time.”

You’re goddamn right it’s an assault on the American taxpayer. But I’m not sure how spending more of our money trying to chase down a few hundred people is going to put that money back in my pocket. In fact, I think such a snipe hunt would have just the opposite results. So long as the economic incentives exist to encourage this sort of behavior, after-the-fact punishment isnt going to do a helluva lot to prevent it from happening again. So, once again, I’ll suggest that the simples possible response is to eliminate (where possible) and reduce those incentives.

I don’t want more of my tax dollars spent chasing people who’ve already wasted enough of it. Just make sure this sort of boondoggle doesn’t happen again.

Wishful thinking.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics