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$60 Billion In COVID Fraud? Try $4 Trillion

As auditors and congressional investigators try to figure out just how much federal COVID relief went to fraudsters, they are missing the trillions of dollars in fraud committed by the federal government itself in a war that we had no chance of winning.

Last week, the Government Accountability Office reported that fraudsters took in about $60 billion in unemployment checks. That’s on top of the tens of billions in fraudulent claims made through the Paycheck Protection Program, the tens of billions handed out through a Small Business Administration program, and on and on.

This Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability will hold a hearing “to investigate rampant waste of taxpayer dollars in COVID relief programs.”

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the chairman of the committee, said “we owe it to Americans to identify how hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars spent under the guise of pandemic relief were lost to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.”

That’s all well and good. But what we really need is an investigation into how the war against COVID wasted trillions of taxpayer dollars, imposed massive disruptions, handicapped millions of students, and probably didn’t save many, if any, lives.

That sort of investigation, if done honestly, would likely conclude that we would have been better off if we’d done nothing at all beyond asking people to wash their hands and stay home if they’re sick.

Shocking? Impossible to believe? Let’s review the evidence.

Start with the fact that since COVID-19 first landed on U.S. shores three years ago, 1.1 million have died from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Even now, deaths are averaging around 4,000 per week.

Way back in early March 2020, the CDC met with experts from around the world met to map out COVID-19 scenarios. “Between 160 million and 214 million people in the U.S. could be infected over the course of the epidemic,” reported the Yale School of Medicine. “As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die.” That assumed the country did nothing to mitigate COVID’s spread.

So, the U.S. embarked on an unprecedented effort to slow the disease’s spread and develop vaccines in record time, spending trillions of dollars in the process. For months, the entire nation was locked down. People were ordered to stay at home. Businesses were forced to stay closed. Church services were suspended. Students were locked out of their schools. The elderly weren’t allowed to have outside visitors. In many areas, mask-wearing was mandatory, even outdoors.

The economic result was catastrophic. The nation’s GDP collapsed by 30% in the second quarter of 2020. Unemployment, which had just reached 3.5% – a 50-year low – shot up to 14.7% in April 2020.

The federal government rushed through trillions of dollars in relief legislation. In March 2020 alone, Congress approved three aid packages totaling $2.43 trillion. By the following March, COVID relief spending was close to $4 trillion.

All of this spending was with borrowed money, and paying off this monstrous debt is a burden future generations will have to bear. But the harm caused by these interventions goes beyond the explosion in the national debt.

Shutting down schools had a tragic impact on education. Reading and math scores plunged as schools struggled with remote learning. Reading scores saw their biggest drop in 30 years. Minorities suffered the most. Masking children for years will likely have long-term effects on their social development as well.

Meanwhile, depression, anxiety, and suicide all increased. A CDC study found that one in four people between 18 and 24 contemplated suicide during the shutdown.

Even car crash deaths, which had been trending downward for decades, started climbing again in 2020, and have continued to increase, most likely because reckless driving became more common thanks to prolonged shutdowns and more empty roads.

And what did we get for all this? Look at those fatality numbers again. At the start of COVID, experts said doing nothing would result in 1.7 million deaths. We did plenty, but the death count is steadily approaching that number anyway.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University did a meta-analysis of studies done on the effectiveness of COVID mitigation efforts. Their stunning conclusion:

“We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures, and limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality.”

But the researchers found that all these interventions “have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence and undermining liberal democracy.”

We will concede that the rapid development of COVID tests, three different vaccines, and improved treatment regimens saved lives, although just how many is unknowable.

But what if we’d done nothing beyond that, other than follow standard guidelines when a disease is spreading? Stay home if you’re sick. Wash your hands. Avoid highly congested areas. What if, instead of spreading widespread fear, public health officials focused on the population most at risk: the sick and elderly?

Our guess is that just as many people would have died from COVID. But we wouldn’t be climbing out of the deep economic hole we dug. Our children wouldn’t have lost a year of education. Fewer would have died from suicide, overdoses, and other lockdown ills.

Few of us who’ve lived through the three years of nonstop warnings, mandates, and hysteria would be willing to admit that this war was all for nothing. But if we’re going to avoid repeating these mistakes in the future, we’d better learn from these mistakes now.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • From the tyrants’ perspective the COVID response worked perfectly, as-planned. Anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of epidemiology can tell you that ‘2 weeks to stop the spread’ would never work, and that the isolation and lockdowns would similarly not work because there is no stopping a virus that’s in-the-wild. Furthermore, any 1st year nursing student knows how useless face masks are, especially in the ways people use them. The virus particle is 1/3 the size of the stuff the masks are engineered to block.

    All of this was planned and we’ll spend the next 20 years clawing back the freedoms that were stolen.

    • /s/ YES! Everyone knows that you cannot stop a virus in the wild!! That is why so many people die of Ebola, a fast spreading and deadly virus, every day!! We can’t stop it!!

      Oh, few people die of Ebola? There are control methods, they are drastic but they do work?? And George Bush (no one listens to him anyway, he is a radical leftist!!!) saw all of that and his team created a plan to deal with pandemics?

      • No, the virus that causes Ebola is not transmitted through the air. Unlike a cold or the flu, the Ebola virus is not spread by tiny droplets that remain in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes.

        Ebola is spread between humans when an uninfected person has direct contact with body fluids of a person who is sick with the disease or has died. People become contagious when they develop symptoms.

  • One of the things many don’t consider is how much the whole covid derangement is like a religious cult, devoid of reason. This is especially trying for me as a devoted Christian, as many falsely and groundlessly and ignorantly claim the Christian faith is such. See the following “Against the Corona Panic” piece ably showing the cult-like aspects:

    • The religious cult is the anti-vaccine crowd, they cling to their beliefs in spite of massive evidence that they are wrong. Even while the anti-COVID vaccine people die, the rest just insist on looking away.

      I like the Amish and groups like that and the anti-COVID vaccine crowd are like that, just refusing to move with the rest of us into the present time. They will be left behind, dwindling like the Quakers.

  • The sad part about the US reaction was that we had a golden opportunity to slow the introduction of the virus into the US, we had a golden moment when we could have given the population a few months of preparation time! But the incompetent trump gang had ignored the George Bush pandemic plan! Eventually, far too late, they revealed their plan – a thick binder of mostly blank pages. It turns out that trump had spent a LOT of time playing golf but had not had time to think about what the country needed to be prepared for.

    Now George Bush had put together a very comprehensive plan which President Biden has gotten out of the trash and put back into place.

  • The Plandemic worked to perfection! Stolen $$billions$$, chipped away America’s power and influence and of course the main objective-Steal the elections from Republicans, mainly President Trump!!!

  • With Medicare paying an extra $8K stipend for a covid death certificate, one wonders how much that was gamed and what real deaths caused by covid were.

  • Social media is the deadly disease, it can turn a bad flu season into a global apocalypse. Censorship was the most dangerous thing to be embraced, and some really loved it and won’t let go.Those people are the enemy.

  • Six trillion dollars in fraud? Understatement of the century. The entire “covid” biowar is a fraud, enacted on the world’s population with goals of imposing permanent centralized control, over a greatly reduced population.

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