"Congress, in their wisdom, funded our project."

Posted: Mar 12, 2009 10:51 AM
That's what Bruce Eldredge, Executive Director and CEO of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, WY, said in justification of the $190,000 he received to digitize and edit "the Cody collection" in Congress' 2009 Omnibus.

I wasn't convinced. After all, the government has put me $1,340 in debt by passing the bill, and I wanted to know if I was getting my money's worth.

"Lets look at something like a hospital," he continued. "Almost all of them receive some kind of federal benefit. So we have set up a system of health care, whether you like the system, its still pretty damn good.

I tried to make the point that health care wasn't really in the same league as museum studies, and that we'd probably be hard pressed to find common ground on medical issues, as well. But Eldredge persisted.

"How do you understand the West of today without understanding the West of the past?" He said. "This is knowledge and education!"

I told him that I was pretty content with my current knowledge of the "West of the past," which included some part of an American history course at my alma mater, and a deep appreciation for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and 3:10 to Yuma.

"This country has grown because we have taxed ourselves over several centuries, to do civil and structural improvements …by pooling our taxes we can do more things that reach more people!"

I don't live anywhere near Cody, WY, and am pretty sure I'll never see the inside of his museum. And while I agree that a system of taxation has been in place for a long time, the current system is so frighteningly large that the possibility of future growth seems seriously in jeopardy -- especially if people like Eldredge and the bill's sponsor, former Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.), have anything to do with it.

HT: Taxpayers for Common Sense