09/13/13 — Ripe for fraud: Massive bureaucracies rife with those who can break rules

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Ripe for fraud: Massive bureaucracies rife with those who can break rules

Crooks are crooks -- that is the bottom line.

There is no inherent set of conditions that makes someone decide that they are going to steal, cheat or otherwise do something less than honorable.

At least that is how it works in the rest of the world. Not so with government.

The recent revelations about the local office of the Housing Authority suggest what many people believe is a common problem with large, lumbering government -- bureaucracy begets inattention, irresponsibility and sometimes, crime.

It is telling that a couple of employees at the local Housing Authority were able to commit fraud for more than 10 years without anyone noticing. And while we might be surprised that it happened here, we are not alone in battling this sort of problem.

Remember the IRS?

The real issue that bothers those who want to see smaller government -- aside from the basic concept of individual freedom -- is that these large agencies are not policeable, not really.

And by the time the bad spending decisions, misappropriated powers or thefts are discovered, taxpayers have lost millions of dollars.

That does not even include what happens to the mission of the agency and the people it serves.

The Housing Authority is supposed to be a safeguard to allow local low-income families who are struggling to find somewhere safe to stay.

Is it any surprise that the conditions are as bad as they are in these neighborhoods?

Aside from the usual societal ills, it looks like there was more than a little bad management.

That's what happens when no one is really watching.

Let's hope someone is watching now.

Published in Editorials on September 13, 2013 11:07 AM