American Elephants

The Federal Government is Cooking the Books by The Elephant's Child

The routine accounting methods used by the administration would land CEOs in jail, says Deroy Murdock. Early in 2002, internal audits found telecommunications company WorldCom was charging operating expenses as capital expenditures, double counting revenue, and undisclosed debt. This is sometimes referred to as “cooking the books.”  The company announced “accounting errors” ($3.1 billion for 2001, and $800 million for first quarter 2002), WorldCom filed for bankruptcy, and CEO Ebbers was convicted in 2005 of securities fraud and other illegal acts.

Bernard Ebbers, WorldCom’s former CEO, is serving 25 years at Oakdale Penitentiary in Louisiana for fraud, conspiracy, and filing false statements, as federal prisoner No. 56022-054.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was grilled before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health by Representative John Shimkus (R-Ill).  Rep. Shimkus wanted to know how the Obama administration could move $500 billion from its left pocket (Medicare) to its far-left pocket (ObamaCare) and somehow finance $1 trillion worth of Medicare and Obamacare.

“Your law cuts $500 billion in Medicare.  Then you’re also using the same $500 billion to say you’re funding heath-care [reform]. Your own actuary says you can’t do both.”

“So, ” the eight-term congressman continued, “are you using it [the $500 billion] to save Medicare , or are you using it to fund health-care reform? Which one?”

Secretary Sebelius confessed: “Both.”

This is illegal. But hardly alone among government examples of the kind of fraud, conspiracy and filing false statements that sent Bernie Ebbers to prison.  There’s the funny business with Social Security, and with government accounting practices as well.  Do read the whole thing.  As Congress is battling over a sea of red ink, it should not be practicing accounting that would send be considered criminal if practiced by business.

Paul Ryan: “Our Generation’s Defining Moment” by The Elephant's Child

The House has adopted Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget resolution, which would cut $6 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, on a 235-193 vote. No Democrats voted for the plan.

Here’s Ryan in advance of the vote on the House floor:

Winston Churchill to the House of Commons, May 2, 1935

It is possible that the dangers into which we are steadily advancing would never have arisen…[but] when the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which might have effected a cure.


There is nothing new to the story.  It is as old as [Rome]. It falls into that long dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind.  Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong—these are features which constitute the endless repetition of history.

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