Leave it to the government to “accidentally” send out coronavirus stimulus checks to over one million dead people.
According a report from the Government Accountability Office, the IRS sent out approximately 1.1 million checks to deceased people, because of course they did. That amounts to approximately $1.3 Billion dollars.
Apparently these were sent to people who had died after filing last year’s taxes.
The Trump Administration sent more than a million stimulus checks worth $1.4 billion to deceased people, according to data released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office—the watchdog report comes as lawmakers continue to disagree on how to approach the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The GAO said the problem relates to the way data on who is deceased is made accessible to government agencies: the IRS has access to the Social Security Administration’s death records, but the arm of the Treasury Department that issued the stimulus payments does not.
In May, the IRS issued new guidance clarifying that a “payment made to someone who died before receipt of the payment should be returned” and provided instructions for sending back checks that were received in error.
It’s still not clear, however, whether survivors who received the checks in error are legally required to do that.
The GAO report also found that because of an error in how payment calculations were made, almost half a million households that used an online IRS tool for those who don’t file tax returns did not receive the $500 payments for children that they should have.
This comes at a time when President Trump is pushing for another round of stimulus checks.
The IRS started to recognize the problem back in May, and encouraged people to return the checks that had been sent to deceased relatives.
Of course crazed leftists see no problem with this mistake and massive waste, dismissing it as a simple “rounding error” according to Slate writer Jordan Weissmann:
So it turns out the federal government sent more than 1 million coronavirus relief payments to dead people. That’s according to a report released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, which earned some breathless coverage from the Washington Post describing the “revelation” as a problem of “astonishing scope.”
In fact, it’s anything but. The IRS has sent out more than 160 million economic impact payments, worth $269.3 billion since Congress passed the CARES Act in March. Out of all those direct deposits, checks, and debit cards, the GAO says that 1.1 million—or 0.4 percent of the total, worth about $1.4 billion—went to individuals who are deceased. We are quite literally talking about a rounding error that appears to have been the product of Washington’s efforts to get money to Americans as quickly as possible in the middle of an economic and public health disaster. The Post writes, “The report makes clear how, in the mad dash to pass legislation to prop up an economy in free-fall in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, mistakes were made.” But even calling this a “mistake” is a stretch, given that the alternative was to slow down the process of delivering much-needed aid.
The fact that the Post is instead treating this topic like a small scandal reflects a broader problem with how some news organizations have covered the government’s response to the coronavirus. Instead of focusing on the broad policy questions about whether programs were helping the economy as intended, many news outlets have focused on trying to track down every single instance of people and companies getting cash that they maybe didn’t deserve. This phenomenon was most pronounced in the case of the Paycheck Protection Program, where journalists and activists harped on how some larger companies like Shake Shack were initially able to get loans through the small business rescue, instead of focusing on more fundamental issues like whether the effort was properly funded or if its rules made any sense. The whole phenomenon even earned a nickname—“PPP shaming”—and probably hampered the entire effort a bit, forcing the Treasury Department to try to tamp down on the public outcry by issuing a bunch of confusing edicts about which businesses were eligible for the program, rather than resolving basic questions about it like how loan forgiveness would actually work. (They only really got to that one in late May).
That’s right, crazed leftists are reduced to defending the IRS’s blunders.