Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

December 29, 2005

“Terrorism Assistance”?

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:05 pm

Here’s some grist for the government-is-incompetent mill. AP reports:

WASHINGTON – Most companies interviewed about the government-backed Sept. 11 loans they received have told investigators they weren’t hurt by the suicide attacks and didn’t know they were getting terrorism assistance, an internal government investigation found. The Small Business Administration’s inspector general also reported Wednesday that lenders who doled out billions of dollars in such loans failed _ 85 percent of the time _ to document that recipients were actually hurt by the terrorism attacks and therefore eligible for the federal aid.

The IG, the agency’s internal watchdog, concluded only nine loan recipients in the 59 cases sampled appeared to be qualified for the special disaster loans. The report said SBA officials told lenders they would not be questioned on how they gave out money.

The AP found that terrorism recovery loans went to businesses including a South Dakota radio station, a Virgin Islands perfume shop, a Utah dog boutique, and more than 100 Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sandwich shops in various locations.

So, Congress and the president gave the SBA a bunch of money to help small businesses hurt by the 9/11 attacks — and the SBA gave that money to, well, to just about any small businesses. Your taxpayer dollars at work!

And, of course, the bureacrat at the SBA is not getting fired or anything, like, say, anyone employed in a private business who was given money to do one thing and did something else entirely. In fact, he is mounting a defense that would be laughable anywhere outside bureaucracy:

SBA Administrator Hector Barreto put the best face on the findings, saying the audit did not find that loan recipients were unqualified for the program, although he did note that lender documentation could have been better.

And in this case, you can’t even blame the folks who got the money they weren’t supposed to get:

The [Inspector General]‘s report found:

  • Only 2 of 42 borrowers interviewed were aware they had obtained a STAR loan.
  • In cases where eligibility could not be established, 25 of 34 borrowers interviewed said they were not adversely affected by the terrorist attacks.
  • Thirty-six of 42 borrowers questioned said they were not asked, or could not recall if they were asked, about the impact of the attacks on their businesses.

You know something’s wrong when the government has a program called “terrorist assistance.” They are supposed to be impeding terrorists, not assisting them!

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