Virtual Voices

Urging deceit

Reader Research

Here's one of our periodic calls for reader assistance: Has a bureaucrat ever suggested to you that you should claim money that is not rightfully yours?

Two anecdotes. One comes from a federal government employee who received a stipend for a trip. He didn't spend the entire stipend and tried to give back the remainder. The stipend administrator told him he should spend the rest on … something, anything.

Another comes from a veteran who needed a hearing aid. He went to the local VA office and filled out the appropriate forms, answering questions about income and net worth. The official who took his forms said he would not qualify because both his income and his net worth were too high. The official handed back the forms and coached the veteran: Look at them one more time to make sure you haven't made a mistake.

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How many times do people come up with dollar-fetching numbers when bureaucrats give them a wink like that? Bill Bennett famously said the plural of "anecdote" is not "data." Two anecdotes do not make even a column, let alone a helpful article. Do you have any from your own experience with officialdom? If so, leave a comment below or send your anecdote to webeditor@worldmag.com.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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