Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Great Unemployment Fraud Caper!

Unemployment fraud is the latest Wisconsin legislative con. An in your face ripoff that portrays the unemployed as the real villains here, and not the our ghoulish state business climate. So Republicans are about to add a few more ways to deny claims.

Scott Walker and the Republican legislature bailed out businesses in 2013, because they were on the hook for replenishing the unemployment fund.

From way back on July 11, 2013: Here’s what Walker put in place on our dime:
jsonline: Under changes to the state's unemployment insurance system adopted by the Legislature's budget committee Wednesday, taxpayers would spend $26 million over two years to prop up the unemployment fund, To avoid having employers face new assessments this year, the committee voted to use $26 million in general tax dollars to pay down interest on that loan.
Think that’s bad? Taxpayers will be used to scam the federal government. Republican will borrow our hard earned taxpayer dollars to shore up the unemployment fund so the fed won’t raise taxes on EMPLOYERS, the ones who actually fund the account.
Additionally, the committee proposal would allow the state Department of Administration to lend up to $50 million in taxpayer money to the unemployment insurance fund. That loan would help the state ensure that the unemployment fund has a positive balance in 2014, which in turn would keep the federal government from raising taxes on employers by $191 million in 2015.

jsonline: Tighten the definition of workplace misconduct so that fewer people would qualify for benefits. Eliminate nine instances in which a worker can quit a job and still claim benefits.
With urine tests about to start up, just in time to disqualify a few Oscar Mayer workers, penalties for unintended unemployment application errors is part of the next attack:
Bill targets unemployment fraud by prohibiting a person from receiving unemployment benefits for seven years if they have twice been found to have lied to the state to receive benefits passed the Republican Assembly 63-34.

Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Milton, balked at the proposal, saying it could affect people who are simply confused by the application process.
Republicans know 85% of what they call "fraud" are really just mistakes made on applications. The Legislative Audit Bureau:
From FY 2011-12 through FY 2013-14, DWD identified 681,400 overpayments totaling $167.9 million. Individuals who unintentionally provided inaccurate information accounted for 84.7 percent of the number of identified overpayments, and these overpayments totaled $61.8 million ... multiple parties made errors, such as an individual and an employer who provided inaccurate wage information to DWD.
9.5% of fraud cases were intentional, discovered and recovered, keeping pace over time.

So dumping as many employees as possible from collecting unemployment is a win for business and a win for Republicans who won't have to raid the general revenue fund anymore. 

These are all short term measures that hide their failed open for business scheme. Urban Milwaukee's Data Wonk put it this way (leaving out defunding the UW, state parks and transportation borrowing):
We have become a “can’t do” state. We have become fixated on costs, including sunk costs, not opportunity. A number of recent actions—including turning down the federal rail grant, attempts to sabotage the Milwaukee street car, and refusing to expand Medicaid—suggest that Wisconsin should be numbered among the can’t do states, obsessed with cost rather than looking for opportunity.

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