2013 was a banner year for waste, fraud and abuse in government, with several strong contenders for the top ranking. Companies that got hundreds of millions of dollars under the federal stimulus package continued to go bankrupt, and the federal largesse failed to revive the economy. The Internal Revenue Service made life difficult for groups with ideas different from those of the president and claimed it was all a matter of bad customer service. The Environmental Protection Agency continued its inquisitorial ways but confirmed that it has no internal controls by keeping on it staff John Beale, a corrupt fraud who claimed to be working for the CIA. The EPA even paid him retention bonuses after he retired. For sheer drama that was hard to beat but for waste, fraud and abuse all wrapped into one, top honors must go to Obamacare.
Obamacare contends that the federal government can manage health care in a way that benefits everyone, with no downside of any kind to anyone, and no negative consequences down the road. This marvel of statist superstition passed on a partisan basis and its eager acolytes knew it was a disaster but rolled it out anyway. Crony contractors wasted hundreds of millions setting up the dysfunctional, insecure federal healthcare website, whose “navigators” could be convicted felons, according to HHS boss Kathleen Sebelius. She and other bureaucratic bosses did not lose their jobs over the rollout debacle but millions of Americans lost the health plans the president said they could keep.
They found out the hard way that Obamacare was based on paternalism, deliberate deception and force. Those who opt out face fines, to be collected by the IRS. In the new year, many of those who get healthcare through their employers will lose their policies. So in 2014 Obamacare is already the top contender for the government program that best combines waste, fraud and abuse.