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Letters to the Editor

Federal charges

| Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2001

I am writing in response to the article and editorials that have appeared in the Tribune-Review regarding the federal government's use of credit cards. I was stunned, but not totally surprised.

This is just another example of a government program that has gotten completely out of control. It was originated to streamline employee purchases, but it has evolved into an apparent gravy train wracked with abuse. In typical government fashion, there are no checks and balances to accurately monitor expenditures. That seemingly would be asking too much, considering the fact that the government can't seem to figure out how many cards to issue.

It was reported that some departments have more credit cards than employees. It was also reported that several banks have had to write off tens of millions of dollars in bad debt because of this program. I'm sure the banks recouped some of their losses by way of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. So that means the taxpayers are getting duped twice. First, tax dollars are funding the fraudulent purchases. Second, tax dollars are funding the FDIC payouts.

Going even further, I don't think it's a stretch to think that this program does anything to keep credit card interest rates at a reasonable level.

To pay off the bad debt, maybe the federal government should do an audit of all the expenditures and garnish wages of employees who abused the system.

Patrick Wolff
North Huntingdon Township

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