Someone smarter than I collected tens of thousands of dollars in pandemic unemployment benefits in my name; what next?

I got a letter from the Department of Revenue back in Maskachusetts. They were upset that I failed to report $12,600 in coronapanic unemployment benefits received in 2020. As I had not filed for unemployment nor received $12,600, this came as a shock. The claim did not start until mid-October 2020 so it is safe to assume that another $20,000+ was harvested in 2021.

When I tried to log into the Massachusetts unemployment web site with my Social Security number, I found that authorization was required from someone with a phone number ending in 1253 or an email address at barid.com, “the most functional webmail in the Arab World”:

My memory of 2020 is dim, so it is theoretically possible that I myself filed for unemployment in 2020. However, it is not possible that I was able to read and write Arabic in 2020. Therefore, due to my illiteracy in Arabic, I’m 99.99% sure that this is a fraud situation.

It is strange that the state couldn’t figure out the fraud by itself. During the purported period of unemployment, the employer (a small LLC) was continuing to make regular payments for unemployment insurance, state income tax withholding, etc. How is it possible that one agency within the state was receiving payments for an employed person while another one was making payments to an unemployed person with the same SSN and a presumably different mailing address? My phone number is readily available. The state government has enough money to pay out tens of thousands of dollars, but not to attempt to make a phone call to the person corresponding to the SSN and ask “Did you actually file for unemployment?” Nor enough money to compare SSNs in two databases?

[The same government that fails to question how someone for whom payroll taxes are being paid regularly can also be “unemployed” and entitled to unemployment checks is the one that we’re supposed to trust regarding how to prevent an aerosol virus that mutates constantly.]

Has anyone else had a similar situation? A friend who employs 25 people in Maskachusetts says that fraudulent unemployment claims were filed for 5 of his employees. I’m thinking that this will take at least 40 hours of time (which otherwise could have been billed to clients at $550 per hour) and $3,000 in fees to my accountant to untangle. So the cost to the U.S. economy of enriching a single Arabic speaker with $12,600 will be at least $37,600. And I will get to do it all over again for 2021. This is another cost of coronapanic lockdowns and everything that flowed from them. A smaller, poorer economy (let’s assume that the $12,600 actually ended up somewhere out of the U.S.) is one in which people will live shorter lives (income being positively correlated with longevity). I’m going to mark this down as evidence for my theory that the lockdowns will end up killing far more Americans than SARS-CoV-2 ever did or ever will. (The biggest killer will be of today’s children, whose adult lives will be shortened because they were deprived of a year of education in the States of Virtue.)

Readers: Any tips for fixing this?

Progress so far:

  • I filed an online fraud report with the Maskachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance
  • I called the customer service phone number, (877) 626-6800, on the Maskachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance web site. All of the state workers are out serving meals at the off-island internment camp for the Vineyard 50, it seems, as the wait time to talk to an agent was 42 minutes (I chose the offered callback option, but was never called back). The agency apparently is not interested in fraud reports as all of the numbers that can be pressed on the phone keypad are advertised as leading to different ways to get more money from the government. There is no mention of an option to (1) stop getting checks, (2) report having found a job, or (3) report fraud.
  • I called the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and waited on hold for about 15 minutes before being connected to an agent. She was able to look up the 1099G and determined that it had been sent to Loganville, Georgia. In other words, it seems that the state was receiving payments for unemployment insurance for someone who was actively employed in Massachusetts while simultaneously sending out money with the same SSN claiming to be unemployed in Georgia.
  • I called the MA Unemployment folks again and waited on hold for 30 minutes before being disconnected.
  • I called the MA Unemployment folks again and waited on hold for nearly an hour before being connected to a lady who explained that the department had allowed people to register for unemployment and request electronic documents. They never had to show up in person, never had to submit any ID (like for voting!), and just received a river of cash (ACH or debit card). The agency never made any attempt to cross-check with reports from employers regarding who had a job, either at the time the money was flying out the door or in a later reconciliation process. Fraud identification is left entirely up to the individual, she explained. Corrected 1099G forms aren’t sent out unless someone requests it and the 1099G correction is entirely manual. So the Massachusetts Unemployment Assistance folks, by leaving all of this inaccurate information out there, create a huge workload for the MA DOR and also for the federal IRS, spawning potentially hundreds of thousands of audits for Biden’s Army of 87,000 (the Spartans managed with 300).
  • The lady connected me to a fraud specialist within the Department of Unemployment Assistance who said that he had no idea how long it would take to issue a corrected 1099G. They would have to “investigate”.

Related:

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Folks concerned about COVID-19 prepare to gather en masse

The American Economic Association’s rules for an upcoming gathering of approximately 13,000 people:

(from https://conf.aeaweb.org/)

They’re concerned enough about COVID-19 that they want everyone to wear an N95 mask (not professionally fitted, though, and hence potentially useless against an aerosol foe) and they want to check papers regarding a vaccine that Science (v2020) said prevented infection and transmission. But they’re not concerned enough to refrain from arranging a mass indoor gathering and, instead, meeting via Zoom?

As when I gawk at those who are headed to vacation destinations on jammed airliners in cloth and surgical masks, I remain fascinated by this intermediate level of COVID concern!

Related:

  • “Monkeypox Outbreak a Boner Killer for NYC Gay Sex Parties” (Daily Beast, 9/7/2022): “We have been aggressive in educating our clients through social media and in-house,” said a representative for The Cock, located in NYC’s East Village. “We continue to require COVID vax proof and are frequently posting monkeypox info and vax availability on Twitter, Facebook and Insta.”
  • the Danish Health Authority’s COVID-19 vaccination page: nobody under 50 can get the shots, absent special circumstances, so it would be tough for young Danish economists to attend Karen’s Economics Convention
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COVID emergency powers expiring in New York State

“Gov. Hochul will not renew COVID emergency powers” (ABC, today):

It’s been nearly two years since New York has led the fight against the coronavirus, but as the virus evolves so does the battle. On Monday, Governor Hochul announced she will not be extending COVID emergency powers which she’s held onto since former Governor Cuomo left office in August of last year. … Hochul says she feels comfortable relinquishing those powers which will expire by midnight tonight.

(Why is it “nearly two years”? Andrew Cuomo shut down public schools and made it illegal for small business to operate in New York 2.5 years ago, no?)

New Yorkers will no longer be living under a state of emergency then? New laws will have to be passed by the legislature rather than decreed by the executive? No. From Friday, September 9… “Hochul Declares Polio State of Emergency for New York” (nytimes):

Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York declared a state of emergency on Friday over the growing polio outbreak…

Some photos from a June 2021 trip to NYC (I used to go there for business every 2-3 months, but now everything is via Zoom).

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Following the Science at Harvard

“Harvard Grad Student Union Protests Comaroff’s Return to Teaching After Sexual Harassment Findings” (Crimson, September 7, 2022):

Returning from two years of administrative leave for allegations of sexual and professional misconduct, Harvard professor John L. Comaroff stood up to start teaching his first class back on campus Tuesday afternoon.

Then, five graduate students stood up and walked out of the classroom in protest.

Meanwhile, dozens of students congregated in the Science Center Plaza to decry Comaroff’s continued employment at Harvard on the first day of his course, African and African American Studies 190X: “The Anthropology of Law: classical, contemporary, comparative, and critical perspectives.” This week, Comaroff resumed teaching for the first time since University investigations found he violated sexual harassment and professional misconduct policies.

The African-American professor is, according to Wikipedia, now 77 years old (i.e., almost old enough to be President of the United States), a great example of the tenure system in action. The point of this post, however, is the tendency of Harvard students to Follow Science when outdoors. Portions of photos in the article:

That’s life on campus right now!

Report from our former town, a Laptop Class suburb of Boston: as many as 1/4 to 1/3 of the students in a middle school classroom will be wearing masks.

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Excited about the new variant-tailored COVID-19 booster shots?

Who is excited about the new COVID-19 shots? (not to say “vaccines”) I’m not sure the guy in the photo below is going to camp out at midnight outside CVS. Stopped at a red light in Stuart, Florida, smoking a cigarette and not wearing a helmet:

Let’s check in with folks who say that they’re the world’s smartest. A recent “daily update” email from the City of Cambridge, Maskachusetts:

How many Followed the Science and got all four of the shots that Dr. Fauci told them to get? 1 out of 10. Not everyone is the right age for all four shots (“C.D.C. Urges Adults 50 and Older to Get Second Booster Shot” (NYT, May 2022)), but Science says that nearly everyone must have at least one booster, right? Only 1 in 2 Cambridge residents has made even this minimal commitment to public health.

Related:

  • From August, in which the smartest state refuses to follow CDC guidance: Maskachusetts rejects Science (90 percent refuse vaccines for children under 5)
  • “At Head Start, Masks Remain On, Despite C.D.C. Guidelines” (New York Times, today): the folks who refuse to follow CDC guidelines and get their 3rd and 4th COVID-19 shots also refuse to follow CDC guidelines and continue to force toddlers to wear masks even without “a high community transmission rate” (but toddlers in Florida, like K-12 kids in Florida, are mask-free: “A group of conservative states, including Texas and Florida, sued to prevent the rules from taking effect, and federal courts imposed an injunction on the guidelines in those states.”). Contrary to Science, the article says that forcing children to wear masks harms them: “Masks can make it more challenging for some children to develop early speech and reading skills, which are learned, in part, by observing mouths in movement, according to research.” (and, statistically, this will cause them to die younger because life expectancy and education are correlated; if we count someone who dies a few weeks early with a COVID-19 positive test as a “COVID-19 death” (ignoring life-years lost) then the 745,000 children currently enrolled in Head Start should be counted as “lockdown deaths”)
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Long COVID, Florida-style

Happy Labor Day to all of those who failed to absorb “The Work versus Welfare Trade‐​Off” (CATO, 2013). (Also, Happy Labor Day to those who are smart enough to refrain from labor!)

Part of an email from a teacher in the Palm Beach County Public schools:

… I have tested positive for Covid and was out of the classroom today [Monday]. I hope to be cleared for a return on Wednesday. Not my choice on how to start the school year but I’ll look on the bright side.

I checked in with her on Thursday:

Yes I am back and very happy to see my Fantastic First Graders again!!!

Compare to “1 in 5 Educators Say They’ve Experienced Long COVID” (EducationWeek).

So let’s celebrate those who continue to labor despite union contracts that would allow them to take a substantial amount of time off, at 100 percent pay, after a positive COVID-19 test.

As long as we’re talking COVID-19 and the Palm Beach County Schools… What’s the level of coronapanic as reflected in the Student & Family Handbook? The word “mask” does not appear. The word “COVID” appears only to provide historical context:

During the onset of COVID-19, in the Spring of 2020, the School Board supported the successful transition of instruction to Distance Learning. One of the supports for this transition was the implementation of a one-to-one student device initiative. Because of this, all School District of Palm Beach County students may be issued electronic devices. These devices are for instructional use to support curriculum goals and will be available for students to use at home or in school.

The corresponding document from our old suburb? The “top priority” is “Establish a culture that is built upon the intersectionality of social and emotional learning, Antiracism, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (AIDE), student and adult learning, and fostering strong connections”. However, the word “COVID” appears 20 times. The possibility of masks on buses and in the classrooms is explicitly discussed. Parents must swear a loyalty oath to Saint Fauci and Science:

Back to the topic of Labor Day… here’s a Florida native green anole taking a break from his/her/zir/their labors on our front door.

Let’s hope that this green anole wasn’t pushed out of his/her/zir/their tree. See “Densely packed invasive anoles outcompete natives”:

Invasive brown anoles might outcompete their native cousins in the southeastern U.S. merely by living more densely.

Brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) inadvertently came to Florida in the 1800s by tagging along on cargo shipments. Since then, the invasive species have moved steadily northward in the state, often taking over territories occupied by native green anoles (Anolis carolinensis). Researchers know that over time, the invasive Cuban anoles change the native species’ habits. After moving in, the newcomer species typically occupies the ground and lower parts of plants and trees, while the green anoles occupy an ecological niche higher up on trees and bushes. The native anoles also become less common once the brown anoles have established themselves in the new territory.

Instead, she speculated that brown anoles in the wild might be outcompeting green anoles based on sheer numbers. Brown anoles may lay eggs more often than green anoles. The Cuban newcomers also tolerate much denser living conditions, while green anoles don’t. This allows the invasive species to take over more territory.

In short, anole migrants have a higher birth rate and don’t mind living in squalid conditions that native anoles would consider intolerable…

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Following the Science at Columbia University

Prepping for a deposition last month in an inter partes review, a guy joined the call who is in his first year at Columbia University’s Law School (he knows enough about patents that it would make more sense for him to be teaching at Columbia, but that’s irrelevant for our purposes). Of course, after asking whether his student loans have already been canceled, I asked what percent of the righteous Ivy Leaguers were wearing masks in class. “100 percent,” he responded. “It’s required for at least the first few weeks of the semester.” Are the Scientists wearing N95 masks? “Cloth masks aren’t allowed, but you don’t need an N95 mask. A surgical mask is okay.”

In “COVID-19 Precautions for Fall 2022”, Columbia says “Students are required to be vaccinated” and “Masking will be required everywhere indoors when the COVID-19 risk is high”, but apparently this is an add-on idea that somehow the first part of the semester is the riskiest (students will get cleaner every day that they spend in the respiratory-virus-free environment of Manhattan).

What is our young colleague going to learn? Let’s check in at

They have a statement on the Supreme Court’s latest outrage:

This opinion is a devastating setback for the long-term struggle for sex equality, bodily autonomy, civil rights, and basic dignity for all. While we do not expect progress to be linear, we do expect our highest court to serve as gatekeeper to the foundational values in which our nation is rooted—equality, liberty, dignity, justice—rather than using their power to dismantle well established constitutional norms, causing the pain and suffering of millions in its wake.

Restrictions on abortion are a fundamental equality issue because: (1) Abortion is singled out for more onerous treatment than other medical procedures that carry similar or greater risks; (2) Restrictions further perpetuate harmful and discriminatory gender stereotypes that limit equal participation in society; …

(Is there a medical procedure that carries greater risks to a 33-week-old baby than abortion care (perfectly legal at all stages of pregnancy in Maskachusetts)?)

What if he wants to save $25,000 on his third year? The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page:

The Fellowship in Support of Careers in Racial and Social Justice, provides a $25,000 grant in the fall of the 3L year to J.D. students who intend to pursue racial justice legal work after graduation and/or students of color who intend to pursue other social justice legal work after graduation.

So the tax-exempt federally-funded institution will allocate these $25,000 grants according to race and/or willingness to follow Justin Trudeau’s example. This has to be legal/Constitutional since the Law School knows everything about law.

Separately, here’s an ad posted within our local Costco:

“Air is life. Make it perfect.” Columbia Law School seems to share this perspective. Make air perfect by adding a saliva-soaked mask in front of your face!

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COVID-19 stimulus spending would have funded 16.6 million middle class children from age 0 to 18

Today’s inflation news… “It Now Costs $300,000 to Raise a Child” (Wall Street Journal):

The cost of raising a child through high school has risen to more than $300,000 because of inflation that is running close to a four-decade high, according to a Brookings Institution estimate.

It determined that a married, middle-income couple with two children would spend $310,605—or an average of $18,271 a year—to raise their younger child born in 2015 through age 17. The calculation uses an earlier government estimate as a baseline, with adjustments for inflation trends.

Let’s combine that with “Where $5 Trillion in Pandemic Stimulus Money Went” (Pravda, May 11):

Stimulus bills approved by Congress beginning in 2020 unleashed the largest flood of federal money into the United States economy in recorded history. Roughly $5 trillion went to households, mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, airlines, hospitals, local governments, schools and other institutions around the country grappling with the blow inflicted by Covid-19.

Even at today’s inflated costs, therefore, if we hadn’t decided to spend all of our current and future savings on coronapanic we could have fully funded 16.6 million children in middle class families, a group that doesn’t tend to have children. This chart from 2019 shows that low-income Americans, who get taxpayer-funded housing sized for whatever families they choose to create, and high-income Americans, who are rich enough to buy family-sized houses, are the ones that have kids:

That’s considering only direct federal spending. Can we guess that at least another $5 trillion was spent and/or sacrificed via state governors’ lockdown orders? Now we’re up to being able to fund 33+ million middle class kids. There are only about 70 million children at all income levels in the U.S. right now. Roughly half of school kids are poor enough to get free or reduced-price lunch (NCES) and, therefore, presumably are entitled to other programs that used to be called “welfare”. So the coronapanic spending, at both state and federal levels, would have been enough to fund 100 percent of American children, for their entire childhood, whose childhoods are not already being funded by taxpayers.

Related:

  • “Scandal-hit Hunter Biden ‘agreed to pay baby mama $2.5 million” (The Sun, October 2020) shows that the stripper-turned-family-court-plaintiff, even if she failed to invest the $2.5 million in an inflation-protecting manner, will still get a $2.2 million profit off Joe Biden’s granddaughter (when will this kid be invited to the White House? Grandpa is not getting any younger or more energetic!)
  • “Prosecutors Struggle to Catch Up to a Tidal Wave of Pandemic Fraud” (NYT): “… one of the largest frauds in American history, with billions of dollars stolen by thousands of people … In one instance, 29 states paid unemployment benefits to the same person. … Another individual got 10 loans for 10 nonexistent bathroom-renovation businesses, using the email address of a burrito shop.”
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I need to get COVID-19 within the next three weeks (the government tests arrived today)

On May 1, 2022 I ordered my “free” (i.e., taxpayer-funded) COVID-19 tests. They arrived in today’s mail. They expire 22 days from now, on September 9, 2022.

For these to be useful, in other words, I need to copy the Pfizer CEO and add COVID-19 to my vaccinated-and-boosted body… within the next three weeks.

Related:

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The Pfizer CEO gets COVID-19 after four shots

Here’s a puzzler:

Why does the Pfizer CEO want to tell people that four shots of a purported “vaccine” from his/her/zir/their own company are so ineffective that he/she/ze/they needs to take an emergency use authorized medicine designed to prevent obese elderly unvaccinated people from being killed by COVID-19? He/she/ze/they got four shots and nonetheless faced an “emergency” situation requiring an experimental drug?

The big questions…. First, why wasn’t Dr. Bourla (a veterinarian so he/she/ze/they knows a lot about ivermectin!) smart enough to never take a COVID-19 test that could call into question his/her/zir/their company’s product? Second, assuming that such a test was somehow unavoidable, why disclose the reason for taking a week off? Why not simply say “I prefer not to work for the next five days?” Or “I have read so much about opioid addiction that I need to stay home and consume Pfizer’s own opioid for a week”?

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