Tyrades! By Danny Tyree
The legendary $435 Pentagon hammer may soon have a new home.
According to The Daily Caller, filmmakers Ellen and Jim Hubbard have devoted five years to working on a documentary in which they facetiously try to navigate the byzantine procedures of Congress and obtain “earmark” funding for a proposed Museum of Government Waste. The success or failure of that secret-camera endeavor will be revealed when the film is released; but either way, the Hubbards have decided to launch a real-life Museum of Government Waste in Washington, using private funds.
Certainly, the museum should pay homage to the late Senator William Proxmire, whose Golden Fleece Awards regularly uncovered pork barrel politics and bureaucratic inefficiencies for the public. His targets ranged from multimillion dollar boondoggles to cute items such as a $3,000 study to decide whether military personnel should carry umbrellas in the rain.(“Oops. Splashed a puddle on the colonel. Another regrettable friendly fire incident. Contact the family.”)
One gets the impression that Congress never met a “childhood home” it didn’t like. I’m sure there’s an earmark somewhere for preserving the boyhood home of that outstanding citizen Jojo Frumpnoodle. (“Don’t send the plaque installers just yet. They might scare the pony at Jojo’s birthday party.”)
Perhaps the public would have more faith in competitive bidding if fewer government spec sheets started with “I spy with my little eye…”
Assuredly, frugality and common sense could be better served if we placed your great aunt Quintilla in charge of purchasing. We could use caverns next to the Strategic Oil Reserve to stockpile aluminum foil, shoeboxes, rubber bands and sandwich bread bags. (“You never know when you might need them.”)
Legislators turn a blind eye to the way the costs of government-funded studies tend to mushroom. If you drop a chunk of change on studying the mating habits of the short-legged nearsighted New World marmoset, you also have to come up with money to replace sponsors when Rush Limbaugh starts CRITIQUING those mating habits. (“Naughty, naughty marmosets. Now use a feather duster…”)
Someone is always out to save an “endangered” this or a “threatened” that. I’ll tell you who is threatened: our great-grandchildren. (“So, you better cough up your share of the national debt, or we have some nice wetlands where you might take a long nap with the earthworms. Capeesh?”)
Coming to the defense of beleaguered taxpayers sounds like a noncontroversial objective; but as the old saying goes, “One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.” Somewhere someone passionately believes in each of those museums, festivals or studies. They’ll declare, “I’m aghast that you can’t see how the Museum of Replicas of Doilies Made By Tone Deaf Kansas Spinsters provides for the common defense and promotes the general welfare. It’s …they…I just want what’s coming to me! I just want my fair share!” (Maybe we could just lump all earmarks into a Peanuts-themed Sally Brown Museum.)
Could the Hubbard museum backfire? It would wake most of us to the dangers of wasteful spending, but some impressionable visitor just might get the wrong message. (“I grew up with a one-hole outhouse, but maybe someday I can mandate $600 military toilet seats. It brings tears to my eyes. Hmmm…maybe a study on ‘Do tears make it look like you’ve been crying?’…”)
©2012 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”. Danny’s’ weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns, please email Cari Dawson Bartley at email@example.com or call 800 696 7561.