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David Lubic

I retired from a state unemployment in November of 2016. After 36 years as an auditor there, I can personally tell you half the people in business have no business in business. They can be good people, smart people, but they are not good business people.

And some of them can be in charge of fairly substantial firms.

Case in point--30 plus years ago, my agency did an audit on a large and specialized (heavy electrical work for utilities) construction company that operated in six states plus my own. Some "genius" in management decided to report all the payroll to the "home" state.

In regard to unemployment tax coverage, this was fine for the people who lived and worked here, and for the people who were based here but supervised work in the other states.

The problem arose with the people who were hired for work in other states and never set foot in the home state. These persons should have been reported to the states in which they lived and worked.

This was before laptop and personal computers were available, and it took five auditors a month to fix this. While they were at it, they also obtained the forms and rate books for the other states, and prepared and submitted the tax forms for the other states. Eventually debits and credits would flow back and forth between the states and everything would be squared up between the company, my state, and the other states.

There was one other annoying thing to deal with, though. It seems about 200 or so people from out of state had filed here in an interstate claim; this would have been the correct thing at the time of filing, because my state was where the wages had been filed. However, in correcting the "home" state and filing the reports for the other states, these people were now removed from the records of the home state. The ancient central computer we were using at the time used its all-seeing electric eye to look at the claims, noted the payroll was no longer where it had been, and considered these 200 people to be "overpaid." It then sent out 200 typically nasty collection letters.

This resulted in 200 telephone calls to claims office I was based out of and another one (these two offices had processed these claims). The 200 calls came in essentially two variations. One was along the lines of "You want the money, come and get it!" The other was a frightened "Please, please, give us some time, we'll get the money to you somehow."

It tied up the claims people in those two offices another month taking care of these people (plus handling the other work they had to do), essentially telling them they owed us nothing, that they had no worries.

On top of all that, between differences in rates between states and differences in taxable wage base levels between states, the five auditors wound up generating a net credit or refund to the company of about $35,000.

I could tell you stories about things like this for a day.

All that experience is a real enlightenment on the "efficiency" of capitalism.

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