Thursday, June 19, 2008

Makin' Me REAL Mad...

Sometimes, when I read the Times, I just get pissed off; yesterday was one of those days. I was reading the story about the U.S. Army overseer who was removed from his job because he demanded that KBR (a subsidiary of Haliburton... just typing that makes the bile rise in my throat all over again!) substantiate payment requests it submitted totalling over $1 billion. I won't go into the details here (because it makes me shake with fury the more I think about it again), but basically, KBR wanted the U.S. taxpayers to give them $1 billion and just blindly accept as fact that it spent the money wisely (or that it actually spent the money at all) on the soldiers fighting in Iraq.

Over the last five years, Catherine's day job has been raising almost $5 million for Dixon Place's new theater, a little over $1 million of which came from the city of New York. She's told me a number of times about issues that have come up with all of the paperwork she's got to file in order to get this money: minor changes to budgets require completely refiling dozens of documents. As her husband, I think the bureaucracy is run amok and they're wasting her precious time; however, as a taxpayer, I feel we should require the recipients to prove that they're using the funds responsibly and fulfilling the agreements they made with the government. Isn't that, really, the absolute least that we can ask of companies using public monies? And I guarantee you that even though Catherine is the only person dealing with this mountain of paperwork (unlike the many thousands in the financial departments at KBR), if there were an audit of their grant tomorrow, Dixon Place's account would balance to the penny.

The Republicans—and this Administration in particular—accuse Democrats of being "tax and spenders;" that we want to take money out of your pocket and give to the undeserving poor (because there's really no such thing as the deserving poor, is there?). Paying for programs that feed, house, educate, and heal the citizens of this country—that's wasteful. Giving it to an OBSCENELY wealthy multinational corporation with no questions asked, that's responsible fiscal stewardship.

Finally, I guarantee you that KBR demands complete, detailed documentation on every invoice they receive from their vendors and contractors before any payment is made!

Pity the next conservative bastard who makes a smarmy "tax and spend" comment within my earshot...

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