Of Mice, Men, and Morons

In which the Red Chinese steal the federal government's entire personnel data file.

To err is human.  To really foul things up, it takes a computer.

    - Anonymous

It turns out there's something even worse: to really, really foul up everything and everybody, it takes a human and a computer working together.

In yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences, the limitless grown and centralization of our national government, combined with its determination to reduce everybody to a mere Social Security number, has resulted in a situation in which - well, as the National Journal baldly put it:

The hackers who infiltrated the Office of Personnel Management last year swiped the personal information of every federal employee working in government, a number potentially far greater than the 4 million previously reported, according to a labor union of government workers.

In a letter sent to OPM director Katherine Archuleta and obtained by National Journal, American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox wrote that the hackers stole Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses, military records, job and pay histories, and various insurance information, in addition to age, gender, and race data. [emphasis added]

Every Single One?!

Think about that for a moment.  Hackers working for the Red Chinese managed to steal the entire national personnel database.  They didn't, apparently, miss any pieces, any obscure agencies or bureaucratic backwaters.  News reports suggest that they were also able to hoover up the detailed records of everybody with a security clearance - which would include our spies, who according to Hollywood legend, don't even exist in the records.  Nevertheless the Red Chinese, from twelve thousand miles away, were able to leave nothing but hooks and some wire remaining in the databanks.

Meanwhile, our own government, with all the power of our money and countless millions of employees, cannot manage even to know if you are dead or alive.  Priceonomics brings us this astonishing tale:

...it is estimated that every year, some 12,200 very much alive U.S. citizens are declared dead by the Social Security Administration due to “keystroke errors.” Those affected quite literally become a walking dead, unable to secure a job, make financial transactions, file taxes, or visit the doctor -- and for months on end, must endure the nightmare of convincing a large bureaucracy that they haven’t yet bit the dust.

No, that's not twelve thousand falsely dead Americans - perish the thought of such picayune incompetence!  That's twelve thousand per year - not to mention an additional 6.5 million "living" Social Security cardholders who are over the age of 112.

There are actually a grand total of 12 genuine living Americans of that exalted age.  So that's a minimum of 6.5 million people who could collect benefits (and many do), not to mention vote.  Time was when Louisiana Gov. Earl Long could get a chuckle by saying "When I die, I want to be buried in Louisiana, so I can stay active in politics."  Would that this kind of fraud were confined to just that one state!

One might suppose that the powers that be would exert themselves to un-kill the living dead, if only so as to collect taxes from them.  One apparently would be wrong.

It makes more sense as to why the bureaucracy wouldn't care to exert itself in the direction of purging the truly dead from the rolls - not just because they can faithfully vote Democrat, but also because it pumps up the number of people the bureaucracy "services" in justification of yet more money next year.  Still, aren't they running the risk of getting the voters so furious, not to mention bankrupt, as to shut down the whole sordid mess?

What can you say about living in an America where the only people who know the truth about Obama's birth certificate, Social Security number, and past job information, are the Communists in Beijing?  Nothing printable, that's for sure.

Let's look at the silver lining though: perhaps we'll get lucky and and some Wang Wu will drop a dime to Wikileaks?  We might as well get something useful out of this.

In the meantime, we'll all appreciate the sorry spectacle of every last bureaucrat being forced the wrestle with their own bureaucracy, so as to get their Social Security numbers locked down, protected, or reissued.  Maybe they'll learn something from the experience.

Read other Scragged.com articles by Hobbes or other articles on Bureaucracy.
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