This week, Cleveland Plain-Dealer consumer columnist Sheryl Harris reported, “A myth that President Obama is giving people money to pay their bills has prompted thousands of people across the country to try to pay for utilities, phone service and loans using bogus bank routing numbers.”
Who can really blame those in desperate financial shape for believing it was their turn to reap the largess of the same government that bailed out or otherwise threw mounds of taxpayer cash at banks, car companies, and a host of Solyndra-like green companies? As Harris reported, one person attempted to alert relatives to the hoax “but family members would not be dissuaded that citizens could tap into government funds to pay up to $1,000 in household bills.”
Unfortunately for those taken in by the Obama-bill scam, they do not carry the sway of well-heeled cronies whose primary weapons include lobbyists and campaign contributions. For those at the margin, there is little direct help on the way. Worse, they are likely to be the most harmed by administration policies that continue to inefficiently and unethically divert resources toward allies rather than toward productive activities that will get the economy moving again.
Critics of the President have quipped that he has turned “Atlas Shrugged” from a cautionary tale to a how-to manual of destroying free enterprise in favor of crony capitalism and more government control of our lives. This sad story out of Cleveland—where those struggling will find their road even tougher to hoe if they have failed to make actual payments due to the belief that they received a micro-bailout—simply offers more evidence that the analysis is correct.
The only hope for getting more peoples’ bills paid—without a hoax—is to get more people employed. That will only happen when Washington removes uncertainty of higher taxes, looming regulations, and the threat of crony capitalism.