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I’m not one to take advantage of government programs. Usually it’s because I don’t qualify anyway, but also I just don’t think I need them. But recently when my car failed its emissions test, I was told about a state program that pays for emission repairs. Wow – exactly what I need since I really can’t afford the arm and leg the mechanic wants for this “simple” repair. And surprisingly, I qualified financially for this one. It’s an easy 1 page application, some proof of income and proof you failed your emissions test. Ha! Not so fast white-girl! You must have failed your emissions test in the last 30 days.* Not 31, not 45…30. Yes, that means go get another emissions test done, fail it again, and send in the new form. And the income history provided didn’t include the last two weeks of paystubs.Uhm, I sent in the last one I had…yes well it was more than a week old. How about sendingin the first 2 pages of your 2012 tax filing instead?* Great – now I have to go dig that up. So, once I get those I can submit them, right? You will have to start a new application.* WTH? Yep, turns out that they aren’t asking for clarified information, they are stating why the submitted information wasn’t good enough. So now that they’ve told me what they need, I can go get it and start all over with properly presented information. Then in 7-10 days I’ll either be approved or denied for new reasons, then I can clarify those and start the process all over again! Oh yeah, this is why I don’t like dealing with government programs. The hoops, tangles, and red tape.
(*this is what the CSR meant instead of the Ebonics version I actually heard over the phone. I wanted to ask for someone who spoke English, but that might have permanently killed any hope my new application may have.)

I’ve also realized that bureaucratic nonsense isn’t confined to state or national agencies. It’s alive and well in my local school district. I have a highschool senior applying for scholarships and some of these ask for a sealed copy of the student’s transcript included with the application and essay. So I asked the school how to get said sealed copies. Nope – they don’t give them out to students or parents per district policy (and yes I looked it up). My options are a) the school can send a copy to the scholarship address directly, or b) I can give the school the completed packet and they will add in the transcript, seal the packet, and send it in. Can the school guarantee when it will be sent and provide a tracking receipt. Oh no, we can’t do that. Then how will I know when you’ve sent it and that the place received it? (crickets) I guess you can call them and see. WTH? Really? Gee, hi scholarship board, did you get my daughter’s application packet that her inept high school may or may not have sent before the cutoff date? (insert growling sounds) They have to send these out every year – why do I expect there to be a better process in place for this?
I honestly don’t think the government diverts my taxes to spend $500 on a toilet seat, or even to fund failing welfare programs. I think tax dollars are being wasted on committees whose sole purpose is to look over a proposed program and figure out how much BS and red-tape can be developed for it. Because if a program is too complicated to use, the average American will give up and thus save the government the potential payout the program promised. And if a student can’t get the school to send a transcript on time, then the scholarship won’t happen, and the student will have to apply for a larger loan, thus more money repaid to the government. Yep, the evil red-tape conspiracy is alive and well and I’m totally entangled in it.