Will Halloween Zombies Be Decked Out in Government Checks?

October 30, 2010

In a Halloween-themed release, Senator Tom Coburn has published an oversight report about government checks being sent to the crypt, or at least to the former street addresses of deceased people. The total is more than a billion dollars sent to the dead during the past decade.

In the report titled “Federal Programs to Die For: American Tax Dollars Sent Six Feet Under,” Coburn does point a finger at executive branch departments—the IRS, the Social Security Administration, and several others—but he calls Congress the main culprit.

These erroneous payments are not the fault of the administration alone. Congress has repeatedly failed to give agencies the legislative tools they need to combat this waste, and we have fallen short of our solemn duty to oversee government operations. This report finds room for improvement across the government, but nowhere are the shortcomings more glaring than on Capitol Hill.

Possibly the only justifiable subsidy to the dead: The Department of Health and Human Services sent 11,000 dead people $3.9 million in assistance to pay heating and cooling costs. Depending on where they went after death, those AC subsidies could come in handy.


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