Tax and spend politics, that dynamic duo of modern politics, is dangerous enough to the republic.
But it creates the stage for the even more sinister vices of modern bureaucracy: inefficiency, waste and cheating on a massive scale.
Here's a couple of examples recently uncovered in Michigan.
* Up to $2 million in Medicaid money went to dead people last year. Well, those checks were sent out to dead people but it was then very alive crooks who did the spending.
* A Department of Community Health program designed to serve disabled and elderly people in their homes paid out $800,000 for people who were already in long-term care facilities. In one example, DCH paid $8,888 over a 12-month period for one person to live in their home, while at the same time also paying for the individual's stay at a long-term care facility.
* The totals of money "lost" to waste and fraud are astounding. The findings in a recently released state audit of the Michigan Department of Community Health shows that as much as $4.4 billion was not properly accounted for. You read that right -- $4.4 billion. And that's just for the last two years!
The audit found "significant deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting." Uh, I guess so. And the report also showed that federal laws were frequently ignored altogether, like those that required the DCH to review their records.
Republicans in the state were livid.
"It seems like a system that invites dishonest people to really take advantage of at the cost to the taxpayers," said Michigan State Representative Tom McMillin. "This is why people are so skeptical of more taxes. Everyone knows this stuff exists - lax controls. The people who allowed this to happen have been getting raises and getting Cadillac benefits. They are going to cry they don't have enough resources..."
One of McMillin's colleagues, Representative Dave Agema, agreed. "Don't ask for tax increases when you have inefficient government and you are wasting taxpayer money. Government keeps getting bigger when they are not efficient with the money they have. "
And finally, this from a third Republican state representative, State Rep. Joe Haveman, "The auditor general report outlines a department that is rife with overlooked fraud and abuse, and it is simply frightening that this is the type of service our state provides people in need. As local governments are forced to choose between policemen versus fire fighters, as education funding is being cut, it is unconscionable for one department to waste as much as $4.4 billion in just two years and have no accounting for it."
Tom Gantert has the story here. (Hat tip: Blogs Lucianne Loves)