Friday, November 22, 2002

GOOD RIDDANCE: Neal McCaleb, Undersecretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, will retire at the end of this year. He seems to think that too much attention has been paid to the Interior Department's mismanagement and simple loss of billions of dollars in royalties owed to Indian landowners. Being held in contempt of court for his role in this ongoing scandal proved a distraction from his understanding of his job.

It's hard to understand what could be more important for someone in this office than cleaning up the accounting of the trust fund (and then, as I've argued before, getting the manifestly-unsuitable-as-trustee U.S. government out of the paternalistic "trust fund" business altogether). The creation of more programs of government dependency for Indians is surely less important than is the return of vast sume of money that already and rightfully belongs to them. There's no special reason to think that the next occupant of the position will do better, but no special reason to think that he'll do worse, either.

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