Saturday, August 6, 2011
BPD, West Virginia
There is one area in which I am in partial sympathy with the late Senator Robert Byrd. I believe that the federal government is too concentrated in Washington, D.C. For example, I find the idea that the National Museum of the American Indian is in Washington, DC not only an example of more wealth transfer to an area simply because it exercises political power, but also bordering on the insulting given the atrocities inflicted on Native Americans from Washington, D.C.. I actually find it refreshing when some important functions, such as the Centers for Disease Control, are located elsewhere (CDC is in Atlanta).
On the other hand, the late Senator Robert Byrd's lifetime challenge seems to have been to move as much of the federal government as he could get away with to West Virginia. (In this he simply followed in the great tradition of Lyndon Johnson who tried to move as much of the federal government to Texas as he could get away with.)
I remember a complicated legal question I had for the IRS a few years ago, and I was told "Oh, you need to talk to our office in West Virginia." Well, you remember all the brouhaha we've been having recently over our public debt. What I didn't know until I read an article by Mark Steyn and double checked it in an archived article in TIME, is that the U S Bureau of the Public Debt is located in...West Virginia. So if the US ever defaults on our public debt, does that mean that all of those Chinese and European creditors will have to stand in a line waiting for payment....in West Virginia? That will have to be good for their hotel, motel, and restaurant business. Somewhere, Robert Byrd is smiling (something he actually didn't do very much when he was alive).