Dispatches from the Creation Wars

I highly recommend Julian Sanchez’ essay about the Omnibus Appropriations Bill that was just passed by Congress, a $388 billion spending bill packed full of pork spending and worse. The bill is 3200 pages long and not a single person who voted for it likely knows what is in even half of those pages. Buried on page 1,112 was a provision that gave appropriations chairmen or their agents the authority to examine the tax returns of any American they chose. How did that get in there? Well here’s the punchline – nobody knows.

As Sanchez points out, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says he has no idea who put it in there. His office put the blame on Rep. Istook, who denies putting it in there and says it was written by the IRS. But the IRS commissioner says not only did they not write it, they’re opposed to it and want it out of there. This is lunacy, folks. It’s time for a change in the legislative procedures that requires that every bill address one thing and one thing only, and adding any language that is not directly germane to the purpose of that bill should be disallowed. That would put an end to hiding wasteful or even unconstitutional provisions in the middle of a bill no one has the time to read. It is a crime that our elected representatives voted for the Patriot Act, for example, without even bothering to read it. It’s time to reign in our leaders.


  1. #1 Dan
    November 24, 2004

    Amply demonstrates the two seemingly indispensable qualities in politics today: (1) an ability to waste our resources without shame; and (2) an ability to pass the buck with unnatural ease and a straight face.

  2. #2 Dave S.
    November 24, 2004


    How else do you plan on controlling the feral hogs of Missouri?

    Now that’s 50 grand well spent.

  3. #3 Jim Anderson
    November 24, 2004

    Minor word usage quibble: “reign” means rule over. “Rein in” is the right phrase. Although the pun works, too: democracy means reigning by reining.

  4. #4 KeithB
    November 24, 2004

    From NPR’s story last night, there did seem to be a valid reason for language like that: If someone from the IRS oversight committee should visit the IRS and see a tax return – even by accident – that would be an illegal act.

    But you sure don’t write a blank check to correct a technical violation like that – especially since it will expire in a year, anyway.

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