Are bureaucrats as eternal as their policies seem to be?

One can only hope not!  A few years ago, USA Today reported:

A pesky, century-old tax on your phone bill is finally being put to rest.

The Treasury Department said Thursday that it will no longer collect a 3% federal excise tax on long-distance calls and would refund about $15 billion to taxpayers.

The tax was imposed in 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War. It was designed as a tax on wealthy Americans, back when phone service was considered a luxury.

There’s more at the link.  Bold print is my emphasis.

I daresay the war’s been paid for by now!  That’s an even bigger bureaucratic blunder than Robert Sobel‘s famous tale, as recorded by Robert Townsend:

“The British created a civil-service job in 1803 calling for a man to stand on the Cliffs of Dover with a spyglass.  He was supposed to ring a bell if he saw Napoleon coming.  The job was abolished in 1945.”

I have a suggestion.  Let’s abolish 50% of all Government administrative jobs right away, followed by a further 5% reduction every year until such time as we find it truly impossible to run the country.  Then add back the last 5% to be cut, and keep the level there.  We’d save a fortune, and the time-servers and seat-warmers would have to find a more productive way to make a living instead of consuming our taxes to no good end.

Bureaucrats!  Grrr!


EDITED TO ADD:  I note that some commenters thought this was a current report until they read the source article, and realized it was from 2006.  I posted it because the similarity to the British civil service position (which was in effect for almost one and a half centuries) struck me as incongruous.  I should have made it more clear that this wasn’t a contemporary issue.  My bad.  Sorry if I caused any confusion.


  1. Of course, the public service unions would make sure that any candidate who ran on such a platform never got elected in the first place.

    And as we saw in Wisconsin, any currently serving politician who tried would be subject to massive demonstrations.

    See also: Riots, per my comment on the thread on welfare reform…

    Personally, I think we should take the franchise away from anyone whose paycheck derives from tax sources. If your sustenance is to be coercively funded, then you don't get a say in how much coercion gets used.

  2. Ronnie Reagen said the closest thing to immortality was a Govt. program…..JohninMd(help)

  3. Angus is right — the USA Today article is dated 2006 — but I didn't notice that until after I'd reshared it, and someone pointed it out to me!

    Still worthy of head-shaking. 🙂

  4. Sorry for the confusion, folks. My bad. I've edited the article very slightly and added a footnote to clarify the date issue.

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