Following various reports of jailed convicts and illegal immigrants receiving unemployment checks from U.S. taxpayers, the Obama Administration is admitting that in fiscal year 2011 the government “overpaid” around $14 billion in benefits.
That’s a chunk of change for a nation suffering through a painful debt crisis that’s topped $15 trillion. Like most bloated government programs, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) unemployment benefits— paid by state treasuries and the federal government—is rife with fraud and corruption. Various news reports have speculated about this for some time, but now we have the actual DOL figures to prove it.
It turns out that in one year alone, the federal government and states overpaid about $14 billion in unemployment benefits, according to a DOL report featuring Unemployment Insurance Improper Payments. The eight-page document also includes “strategies to get the rate down.” Evidently the DOL has “an aggressive strategic plan to work with states to control unemployment payments.” This includes “a number of robust strategies,” according to the report.
The bottom line is that the damage has been done, even though—get this—last year’s $14 billion in fraudulent payments was actually an 11% decrease compared to the previous year, according the DOL. That’s why the agency refers to the $14 bil as an improvement though American taxpayers may view it somewhat differently.
Corruption has plagued the nation’s out-of-control jobless benefits program for some time and the problem has only gotten worse under the Obama Administration. As far back as 2010, there were reports of unemployment checks going out to illegal immigrants in at least one state as well as other unqualified legal residents and citizens.
Earlier this year a mainstream newspaper reported the unbelievable story of a convicted murderer who for years collected unemployment benefits from jail. In all, the felon, a gangbanger, raked in more than $30,000 in unemployment benefits from 2008 to 2010 while incarcerated in California. When his contacts cashed the $1,600 monthly checks they would deposit a portion into his jail account and he would share some of the money with his fellow jailed gang members.
Of interesting note is that California’s veteran Democratic congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi, pushed hard as Speaker of the House to pass a controversial jobless benefits extension by asserting that it would somehow help create jobs. That’s right; Pelosi actually said that unemployment checks keep the economy churning, which in turn, “creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.”
Weeks after handing out nearly $76 million to help low-income juvenile delinquents find work, Obama’s Labor Department is dedicating an additional $17 million to provide “high-risk” adults with “meaningful job training.”The first allotment covered underage criminals and the second applies to adults, ages 18 to 24. The goal is to “support underserved young adults looking to improve their lives and join the workforce,” according to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. A majority of the “young people” participating in the taxpayer-funded program dropped out of high school or served time in jail, Solis confirms.Two leftwing nonprofits will each get $8.5 million to assist more than 1,400 individuals in “high-poverty, high-crime communities,” throughout the U.S., according to the Labor Department announcement. Solis assures that it’s a worthy investment that’s not limited to the individual but rather benefits the entire family and community.Weeks earlier her agency dedicated nearly $76 million to give low-income juvenile delinquents a “second chance” by helping them get high school diplomas and jobs. That money went to an alternative education program (YouthBuild) that offers training in occupational skills, academics and other important areas such as “life planning, healing from past hurts” and “overcoming negative habits and attitudes.”A former California congresswoman, Solis has come under fire for launching a program at her agency to protect illegal immigrants. Under that project, 1,000 field investigators enforce labor and wage laws in industries that typically hire illegal aliens without reporting anyone to federal immigration authorities. Solis even set up a special Spanish hotline where illegal aliens can report wage issues “regardless of immigration status.”
With no end in site to the nation’s record-high unemployment rate, Obama’s Labor Department is spending nearly $76 million to give low-income juvenile delinquents a “second chance” by helping them get high school diplomas and jobs.The generous allocation of taxpayer funds to save poor dropouts with criminal records was announced this week by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, a former California congresswoman who has come under fire for launching a program at her agency to protect illegal immigrants. Under that project, 1,000 field investigators enforce labor and wage laws in industries that typically hire illegal aliens without reporting anyone to federal immigration authorities.Now Solis is on a mission to rescue at-risk teens by throwing $75.8 million at an alternative education program (YouthBuild) that offers training in occupational skills, academics and other important areas such as “life planning,” “healing from past hurts” and “overcoming negative habits and attitudes.” Strong emphasis is placed on leadership development and community service, according to the YouthBuild website.“Every day in America, 7,000 students drop out of high school,” Solis said during this week’s grant announcement in her boss’s hometown of Chicago. “Our nation cannot afford to lose these young people.” The money will go to YouthBuild affiliates in dozens of states as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.Not surprisingly, crime-infested urban areas will get most of the cash. Among the top recipients are Chicago, Sacramento, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Newark and Las Vegas. It’s a worthy investment of taxpayer dollars, Solis assures, because “YouthBuild provides an important second chance to earn an education while also developing valuable skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”Since 2006, the Department of Labor has awarded nearly $300 million to local YouthBuild programs around the nation. Other government agencies, such as the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Energy, Justice and Agriculture, have also kicked in hundreds of millions of dollars in the last few years.