The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Friday, December 31, 2004

Tar and Feathers

Time to Bring Out the Tar & Feathers?

If audits conducted on the books of local governments showed their finances were in such a mess that the auditor just threw up his hands and confessed he couldn't follow the money, here's a likely scenario:

The citizens would string the elected officials up or tar and feather them and send them out of town riding on a rail.

Such a thing is irresponsible. It indicates those in charge don't care about being good stewards of the money they extract from the people. And it shows they think we in the hinterlands are a bunch of dummies.

Thank goodness for the Government Accountability Office. It's the investigative arm of Congress.

And in trying to balance the books of the federal government, its auditors must have consumed an entire city's worth of Valium.

See, the numbers don't add up. The financial system doesn't meet generally accepted accounting principles.

So what?

Well, consider this: The GAO found that "last year, various agencies spent $24 billion with no record of where the money went, while this year, agencies reported $3 billion more in expenses than actually went out the door," according to a Heritage Foundation report.

But that's just a penny on a stack that's 10 miles high.

The Washington Post reports that those in seats of power are working to address these and other problems.

It's certainly about time. This is the eighth year in a row that the books have been a mess.

So, if Congress and the president don't know "come here" from "sic 'em," how much confidence should taxpayers place in the precision of the estimates that government will need to, say, fight a war, run Medicare, give tax breaks? About zero.

How much confidence should taxpayers have in government projections about what's going to happen to Medicare in 20 years or how much the Raptor fighter plane is actually going to cost? About zero.

With revelations such as these, is it any wonder that cynicism runs deep? First, Enron. Now the government.

Tongue-clucking will obviously do no good. Nor will expressions of disgust.

It is said that programs are in place to fix the mess. But this still needs to be at the top of the president's to-do list.

It's not a sexy subject, of course - just one that shows fiscal responsibility is taken seriously.

Chickens still have feathers, and tar comes cheap.

(Carroll Wilson is editor of the Times Record News in Wichita Falls, Texas. Reach him at wilsonc(at)

© Copyright 2004 by Capitol Hill Blue

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:


Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Sunday, December 26, 2004


Written in Mission, Texas, February, 1932; suggested by the memory of the hill-country above Fredericksburg seen in a mist of winter rain."
by Robert E. Howard

I remember
The dark woods, masking slopes of sombre hills;
The grey clouds' leaden everlasting arch;
The dusky streams that flowed without a sound,
And the lone winds that whispered down the passes.

Vista on vista marching, hills on hills,
Slope beyond slope, each dark with sullen trees,
Our gaunt land lay. So when a man climbed up
A rugged peak and gazed, his shaded eye
Saw but the endless vista - hill on hill,
Slope beyond slope, each hooded like its brothers.

It was a gloomy land that seemed to hold
All winds and clouds and dreams that shun the sun,
With bare boughs rattling in the lonesome winds,
And the dark woodlands brooding over all,
Not even lightened by the rare dim sun
Which made squat shadows out of men; they called it
Cimmeria, land of Darkness and deep Night.

It was so long ago and far away
I have forgot the very name men called me.
The axe and flint-tipped spear are like a dream,
And hunts and wars are shadows, I recall
Only the stillness of that sombre land;
The clouds that piled forever on the hills,
The dimness of the everlasting woods.
Cimmeria, land of Darkness and the Night.

Oh, soul of mine, born out of shadowed hills,
To clouds and winds and ghosts that shun the sun,
How many deaths shall serve to break at last
This heritage which wraps me in the grey
Apparel of ghosts? I search my heart and find
Cimmeria, land of Darkness and the Night.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website: