Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's MIDAS program had a 93% error rate and falsely accused 20,000 workers of unemployment fraud

Poor folks are the only economic group in America that vote majority Democratic.

It wasn’t poor white trash that elected Trump; it was middle-class people.


The fact that any substantial proportion of poor folks are willing to vote so far against their interests is pretty fucking miserable.


Actual photo of Snyder when he was confronted with the results of the audit.


There’s plenty about this story that doesn’t add up. I’ve never lived in Michigan, but in Pennsylvania, I was accused of underreporting my income once. (I don’t think they use the word fraud, at least not without solid evidence.) I was able to talk to an agent there (after a long wait on hold, if I recall.) I was able to send them a pay stub to verify my claim, and they dropped their complaint. If I wanted to appeal, I could have scheduled a face-to-face hearing, with or without a lawyer.

All of that was spelled out clearly in every letter I got about this. It’s possible Michigan just doesn’t feel like informing people of their rights, but very often a story like this gets started just because people don’t read the goddam letter.

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It’s important not to be distracted by the names that neoconservatives give their projects.

“Fraud-prevention” or “crony-enrichment”, which would you offer the public?


I get that they want to be rich, but why do they delight so in destroying the lives of little people?

Are they so petty that money and power aren’t enough without causing needless suffering?


I don’t get that mentality. If I suddenly won some form of lottery where I was not just rich, but super-rich, I think I’d want to spend it helping people-- family, friends, charities-- not actively working to make peoples’ lives miserable. Maybe that makes me weird and/or dumb somehow.


Totally a C- acronym, until we remember that the tale of Midas literally ends with him killing his own kid with his magical powers.

Seriously, it’s like the guy behind the acronym was trying to tell us something about the program.


Some people who are successful, and they don’t have to be super rich to be guilty of this, believe that they alone are responsible for their success. They don’t recognize that they had help, both from other people and from circumstances, including luck. Because they believe they alone are responsible for their own success, they believe people who aren’t successful are likewise solely responsible for their own failures. The logical extension of that philosophy is that the majority of people who make use of programs like unemployment assistance, food stamps, medicaid, disability, and so on, are getting something they don’t need. It’s a short jump from there to believing a majority of people accessing these programs don’t need them at all and are committing fraud. That’s why stories about welfare queens and people taking limos to the street corner to panhandle gain so much traction. We in the United States have been told from childhood that all it takes to succeed in life is hard work. If you believe that, then people who are struggling in life just aren’t working hard enough. Why reward that? At one time in my life, I was headed towards believing that myself. Then I was unemployed for a year and a half, and had to work at Walmart for a year and a half. I worked my ass off at that job. I worked way harder than I ever did as an engineer making $70,000 a year, and I could barely keep my head above water making $8.70 an hour. And I’m single with no dependents. I’m doing much better now, but being poor for awhile definitely opened my eyes. It’s a trap that’s hard to escape from, no matter how hard you work.


Why would you say that? Do some more research.

I would call it the False Unemployment Claim Uncovering Protocol, or FUCUP for short.


Absolutely; it’s about blaming people for claiming the benefits they are entitled to. But they never prosecute employers for UIA fraud. When Snyder came in, they disbanded the task force to investigate employers for misclassifying employees as contractors to avoid payroll taxes. A lot of the fraud roboconvictions occurred because the system automatically assumes the employer is telling the truth and the employee is lying when info doesn’t match.


Midas doesn’t send you a letter. It sends a notification to an online account that you probably aren’t checking anymore because you are back in the workforce. They want you to keep checking back for notifications for years after. If you don’t, they convict you in absentia.


I’m betting that Michigan state employees did NOT code this! Outsourcing to private industry is always the Republican solution. Who wrote the specifications? Who coded it? Shouldn’t there be some recourse against these folks? (Dell? HP? Accenture?)


They are taught that way to some degree. They think that anyone who isn’t working or making a certain amount is a parasite and shouldn’t be living. I see comments on FB for some of the NPR stories that make me weep for humanity and hope that we kill ourselves off soon.

@danimagoo said this better than I could.


I would do the same. Put away enough to live on the rest of my life and give the rest away.


Its not the fraud prevention aspect which cost the state money, it was the cheap and lazy way of going about it in a way which was predatory to the middle and working class. Actual fraud prevention (something which is part of my job) requires actual people doing actual work.

Typical conservative solution. Attack the wrong targets, cost everyone more money and enrich the coffers of political cronies.


I once taught a special programme to help adult students complete their high school diplomas and get jobs. One thing I learned: people who have been on benefits for a long time do not see government bureaucrats the same way regular working stiffs do. If a government employee says “jump”, they drop everything and start jumping.

Being a government programme itself, the attendance rules for my classes were very strict. I had to help one student negotiate a different time for a doctor’s appointment so she wouldn’t miss class – it had never occurred to her you could just say, “I’m available at these times on these days – do you have any appointments open?”

Seriously. She gave me a hug and gushed about how the receptionist had “let” her reschedule after she used the script I gave her.

A letter like the one you describe would trigger a full-blown panic attack for some people, and, more importantly, they would just assume there was no way to prove a mistake had been made.


One “like” is nowhere near enough to show my appreciation for what you’ve said here.

It so tidily captures the flawed thinking, the confirmation bias, and the lack of perspective that goes in to perpetuating this belief system.



OK, I know you’re joking, but Michigan is a beautiful state - lakes and rivers, forests, and even mountains. Some parts tend to get a little chilly in the winter, a little warm in the summer, the black flies can blot out the sun and the mosquitoes grow to the size of softballs, but it’s still a beautiful place. Get away from the awful big cities and you find compassion, generosity, and a reliable Midwestern sensibility - there are lots of reasons for people to live there, it’s just that the douche bag governor isn’t one of them. At least, that was my experience, and I lived there for over 50 years. I was still there when Snyder was running for the first time, and the promises of his campaign and the reality of his government are miles apart.