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As we have noted, the IRS targets supporters of limited government, calls it “horrible customer service,” and resists inquiry. The IRS also does a poor job combatting fraud, and sends out more than $3 billion to identity thieves. The Social Security Administration has paid out more than $30 million to at least 1,546 dead people, with some of the deceased receiving benefits for 20 years. But as this Washington Post report notes, federal government agencies do so much more than that.
The federal government is now confiscating the tax refund checks of hundreds of thousands of Americans nationwide “because of a debt they never knew about – often a debt incurred by their parents.” The Post cited the case of Mary Grice, an African American woman who was four years old in 1960 when her father died leaving her mother to raise five children. The children received survivor benefits until they were 18. “Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977.”
Mary Grice told the Post, “They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.” Hundreds of thousand of other Americans are also being targeted in this manner, and nobody seems to know who is responsible.
The Post traces the grab to a single sentence in the farm bill “lifting the 10-year statue of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.” Social Security, Treasury, and Congress all disclaim responsibility for opening the long-closed cases. Regardless of who is directly responsible, this is the federal government in action. As Grice’s attorney Robert Vogel told the Post, “the craziest part of this whole thing is the way the government seizes a child’s money to satisfy a debt that child never even knew about. They’ll say that somebody got paid for that child’s benefit, but the child had no control over the money and there’s no way to know if the parent ever used the money for the benefit of that kid.”
What we have here is a predatory ruling class preying on the most vulnerable. Mary Grice knows what the deal is: “My mom used to say, ‘This country is carried on the backs of the little people,’ and now I see what she meant.”