I Hate To Admit It, But I Am Starting To Get Numb To All Of This

Posted: October 31, 2008 in Economy, Just "Why?", Politics

Bailout here, bailout there, here a bailout, there a bailout, everywhere a bailout.

Most people that I encounter are caught up on what government can do to fix “X”. I’m just one of those folks whose first response is always “How much money has been wasted in trying to fix ‘X’?” Anyway, I won’t bore you with my sighing. Instead, allow me to point to you yet another example of government efficiency.

Report: IRS issued $1B in bad refunds in 2007
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The government sent out more than $1 billion in fraudulent refunds last year and offered this explanation Thursday for the bad checks in the mail: The Internal Revenue Service has too few resources to pursue every tax fraud case.

IRS investigators never even looked at an estimated $742 million in fraudulent refunds, according to a report by the Treasury Department office that monitors the agency. When they did identify an additional $264 million in bad refunds, it was too late to stop them from being issued.

The report noted that the IRS must divide its limited resources among numerous areas of compliance. “However, this is a significant revenue loss to the federal government and that must be addressed,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration.

The number of improper refunds filed appears to be growing rapidly, the report said. “The problem is becoming unmanageable, and the IRS cannot afford to continue handling it in the same manner as in the past,” according to the report. It urged the tax agency to make the refund screening program — known as the Questionable Refund Program — a priority. (more…)

So just for the fun of it, let’s explore some of the things $1bil could buy back in 1993

— Two years’ worth of AIDS research at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, or a year’s worth of the drug AZT for 333,000 HIV-infected people.

— The operation of every public school in the U.S. for six hours.

— A before and after transformation: complete body makeover for 72,992 needy folks, including a face-lift; liposuction of the hips, thighs, stomach, and knees; and a nose job. Ivana! We hardly knew you.

— Two years of salary, bonus, and stock grants for the 100 CEOs of the largest FORTUNE 500 industrial and service companies; $1 billion is also equivalent to two years’ earnings for 56,561 minimum-wage workers.

— Four years of maintenance and beautification of all 26,300 acres of municipal parkland, including 900 playgrounds, 13 golf courses, 40 swimming pools, and 500 tennis courts, in the five boroughs of New York City.

— The tuition, room, and board at an Ivy League school for 10,645 students, enough to populate the freshman classes of Brown, Cornell, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale — with $50 million left for Cliffs Notes.

— The average annual grocery bill for 250,000 families of four.

How To Spend $1 Billion

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