This year, every day is Christmas at the federal treasury. It handed out hundreds of billions of dollars in checks to people, regardless of whether they lost income in the shutdown or not, regardless of whether they lived here or not. Now, one congressman has found that checks were mailed out to foreign nationals overseas who never became American citizens!
On Friday, Rep. Thomas Massie tweeted out a copy of a $1,200 coronavirus shutdown check received by a Norwegian citizen:
Now we are sending stimulus checks to Norwegian citizens living in Norway! At least the dead people who received s… https://t.co/UyStvU0CD9— Thomas Massie (@Thomas Massie)1597420280.0
I reached out to the Kentucky congressman to get more details, and he revealed that while he has fully identified the individual living in Oslo and his situation, he obviously could not publicize his name and specific details because of safety concerns.
“This man is not even a dual citizen and does not even have a U.S. green card. He is 100% Norwegian,” said the congressman, who vigorously opposed the coronavirus bailout bill that was passed in March. “He presumably received the check because he worked here decades ago but has never filed taxes since then.”
The stimulus checks were supposed to be mailed out based on work status and income levels in 2018 tax returns.
Massie also told me that this individual’s income level is “well above the qualifying cutoff.” The full $1,200 sum was reserved only for those earning below $75,000, phasing out completely for those individuals earning more than $99,000.
I have heard numerous cases of individuals living overseas who have received stimulus checks. NPR did a story on this earlier this month, but claims the error is due to people mistakenly filling out tax returns that make them appear to be U.S residents. However, a friend of my wife who lives in Israel called her a few months ago about how she received thousands of dollars for herself and her three children, even though they had not filled out a U.S. tax return in five years. In her case, at least she is a U.S. citizen, but the recipient in the case Massie discovered is 100% foreign.
Our government carelessly mailed out hundreds of billions in checks to people who either didn’t qualify or didn’t need the money. At the time, I criticized the bill for being too much and too little at the same time. Rather than compensating those who lost income, regardless of their 2018 income level, our government indiscriminately mailed checks to anyone below a certain income level, even if they didn’t lose a penny during the shutdown. On the other hand, people who had their businesses destroyed but earned more than $99,000 in 2018 received nothing. Now it appears that some people above the income level did indeed receive checks … overseas.
Massie pointed out that he has constituents who serve in the military overseas who have not yet received checks, and they most certainly earn below the eligibility threshold. How many more unqualified individuals living overseas – even foreign citizens – have received checks? We will likely never know because nobody in Washington cares about wasting money any more. Today’s Republicans make Barack Obama look like Barry Goldwater.
The checks were mailed out so carelessly that one Massachusetts man received $8.2 million. But at least he was alive. According to the Government Accountability Office, the Treasury mailed out checks to over 1 million dead people. Well, if dead people will now vote in this verification-free election conducted through the mail, I guess they deserve checks as well.
Now both parties are clamoring to send out yet another round of checks using roughly the same failed system.
The tragic irony of all of this is that the entire pretext for these handouts is the fact that our government has destroyed paychecks and businesses through a shutdown premised on a faulty assessment of the coronavirus. The most severe threat from this virus is to vulnerable seniors in nursing homes. For a fraction of the trillions of dollars our government spent fueling and incentivizing shutdowns across the country, we could have kept our country open and built a private villa for every nursing home patient, providing one or two private aids who could test themselves every day.
Do you want to know an even greater irony? This wealthy man in Norway received a coronavirus reparation check when Norway has in fact incurred one of the lightest economic and mental health losses from the virus. That is because it has acted rationally. Norwegian officials don’t believe in masks for the masses; they believe it was a mistake to close schools, and they have promised not to shut down the country again.
A new survey by the Commonwealth Fund reveals that just 10% of Norwegians suffered from anxiety during the epidemic, the lowest level of the nine Western countries surveyed.
Indeed, they do not need our checks. We need their common sense.