America is struggling with a ‘long line’ of Covid-19: The revival of periodic outbreaks, limited at the moment, contrasts with new vaccines titrated on virus variants. The other, which is less talked about, relates to the financial epidemic and the economic and digital crime caused by the massive amount of subsidies granted to counteract the recessive effects of the epidemic. In two and a half years, the federal government and states have transferred more than $5 trillion in aid to families and businesses: double and a half of Italy’s GDP. Avoid recession and massive inflation due to the energy crisis. But the fraud also exploded: US intelligence agencies recently announced that they had discovered fraud worth $286 million from unqualified or even non-existent companies. It’s just a drop in the bucket: on the basis of sample surveys, it is estimated that at least 87 billion out of 390 received from small businesses (that’s more than 20%) are fraudulent. And things are worse with other funds: according to analysts, of the 900 billion that were allocated to the unemployed, up to 400 could have become spoils from fraudsters.
Suffice it to say that from March to December 2020 the government received Two-thirds of the American workforce claims benefits, while unemployment has never exceeded 23%. By acting quickly, the government knew there would be abuse, but it imagined limited phenomena. Instead, the task force that Biden set up a year ago to shed light on the largest scam in American history acknowledged that the phenomenon had been stamped out, would require years of investigation and little could be done to recover the billions (tens, possibly hundreds) stolen. From the Russian mafia, Chinese hackers and Nigerian gangs of crooks who used years of data theft of US citizens to get benefits using stolen identities. Scamming a government that has to be the most tech in the world is child’s play when you don’t have to physically appear at the table and everything happens online, automatically, without human controls. An issue that should also make people think about expanding Italy’s social welfare systems, making them more and more automatic to speed up procedures and avoid discretionary interventions.
September 8, 2022, 23:28 – change September 8, 2022 | 23:46
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