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Another example in the long list of reasons why more government does not mean more efficiency

In another example of ineffective bureaucracy, the IRS has been sending $1,200 stimulus relief checks to deceased citizens (https://www.npr.org/2020/05/06/851019441/the-irs-sent-coronavirus-relief-payments-to-dead-people). While this could be understandable if the person passed within the past six months or even the past year, some people are receiving checks that died back in 2018. Many of the families are seeking ways to return the money, reaching out to the congressional representatives, the IRS, and the Treasury Department, but they have not received a clear answer yet.


Unfortunately this should not be news to anyone. Studies have shown that a small percentage of votes each election cycle are cast by the dead. Some may argue that more conservative areas that try to limit government have allowed this to happen because they don't provide sufficient resources, however Chicago, one of the most liberal and highly regulated areas of the country often sees the worst of this. What is both infuriating and perplexing is how these oversights continue.


Bureaucratic mistakes are not limited to the dead however. A report in 2013 indicated that the US State Department had spent $630,000 getting "likes" for their Facebook page. In 2015 $3.1 billion was spent on vacation for federal employees who were placed on administrative leave. The problems don't stop with unnecessary spending. Regulations from both federal and state agencies can often be ridiculous as well. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin companies that are going out of business must purchase a license, submit paperwork describing the inventory they wish to sell off, and they must pay a fee depending on how long the going out of business sale will last. These are just a few small examples of the numerous cases of bureaucratic waste and mismanagement seen across the country.


A fault with modern political thought is that when given enough authority, government will be able to function effectively and efficiently. It will work towards the good of the people and the progress of history. While that may sound good to many, it fails to take into account human nature, especially the fact that the best government models are still implemented by individuals. As Madison wrote in Federalist 51, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." Bureaucrats are still subject to the same bribery, corruptions, mismanagement, mistakes, politicization, and lobbying that any other elected official may see. Furthermore they are one step removed from the American people because they are appointed, not elected. While the political landscape has changed significantly since the American Founding, certain principles still hold true. More government doesn't mean better governance.


For more info on the problems with inflated bureaucracy check out: https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/bureaucratic-failure#_edn8

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


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