Many on the political right oppose so-called “Big Government” due primarily to the tyranny it inevitably inflicts on its citizens, and we’re seeing scary examples of the phenomenon in real-time. Examples of such autocracy include vaccine and mask mandates, jury intimidation (see the Derek Chauvin trial), and unapologetic assaults on our First Amendment right to free speech. But there are other aspects of Big Government that are both infuriating and repulsive, one of which is its inexcusable waste; and we saw a ridiculous example of such waste last week.
According to the U.S. Secret Service last Tuesday, over $100 billion has been stolen from the federal government through three separate programs which received COVID relief bill funding, with one of those programs being the much-ballyhooed Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. In today’s world of out-of-control government spending, $100 billion sounds almost small. But it isn’t, obviously. And each one of those dollars represents government incompetence having squandered our hard-earned taxpayer dollars.
The Secret Service’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy Dotson acknowledged the magnitude of the failure, explaining “I’ve been in law enforcement for over 29 years and worked some complex fraud investigations for 20 plus years, and I’ve never seen something at this scale.” We believe you, Agent Dotson, and thanks for putting this larceny in perspective. But it is the next statement from the special agent that sheds light on the fundamental problem.
“There’s no doubt that the programs were easily accessible online. And so, with that, comes the opportunity for bad actors to get into that mix,” Dotson said. “It was necessary to try to get these funds out to people that were truly hurting, and no fault of anybody.” And there it is… the absurd mindset of Big Government: We had good intentions, and stuff happens. Oh well.
Instead of such a large number like $100 billion, let’s divide that number by a whopping 100,000 which brings the theft to $1 million. Only let’s say that instead of that amount being stolen from the Federal Government, let’s say it was stolen from a company in the private sector. If a company such as Wal-Mart, or Goldman Sachs, or Southwest Airlines had $1 million stolen from it, do you think their reaction would be “it’s nobody’s fault?”
When a private company experiences a massive breach in their financial security apparatus, heads roll, and rightfully so. In private industry, there’s accountability. Employees are accountable to their employers, and employers are accountable to their owners: either stockholders or other types of proprietors. If $1 million goes missing from a private company tomorrow, no matter how big that company might be, by the end of the day someone will be packing up their belongings into cardboard boxes and heading out the door. It might be someone from their Finance and Accounting Department, or maybe their Security team, or perhaps their Information Technology group. Or maybe folks from all of the above. But someone will suffer the consequences because someone failed to do their job.
Make no mistake, the individuals who stole the government funds are fully responsible. Individual responsibility is paramount, and over 100 of the criminals have been caught so far. Each of those thieves should receive due process, and once convicted they should spend a decade or two behind bars. But there are others who are also blameworthy, and they need to be held accountable as well; but we know they won’t.
Special Agent Dotson isn’t just off base, he’s wandering around left field somewhere. There are plenty of individuals who are “at fault,” and who need to answer to the taxpayers on how something like this could happen. And we can rest assured, the majority of the stolen $100 billion will never be returned. Will those government cyber-security technicians, or program auditors, or qualification assessment specialists be escorted off the premises? Will the directors and managers who designed the processes that allowed for the thefts be sent packing? Or will bureaucrats like Roy Dotson merely shrug their shoulders and say, “Aw, shucks.”
This, my friends, is Big Government in action.
P.F. Whalen is a conservative author at TheBlueStateConservative.com. His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Human Events, the Western Journal, and American Thinker. Follow him on GETTR; he does not do Facebook and Twitter.
Featured photo is a screengrab from CNBC.