"It’s a terribly hard job to spend a billion dollars and get your money’s worth."
     -- George M. Humphrey, U.S. Treasury Secretary, February 23, 1954.
"According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions."
    
-- Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary, September 10, 2001.

 

About Stop the Buck
Posted Mar 11, 2005 | Link

In the "old days" (whatever those were), drunken poker players were alleged to have used a marker to keep track of who the dealer was. Since this marker was often a buck's tail, some buckshot, or even a knife with a buck-horn handle, the terms "passing the buck" and "the buck stops here" referred to passing this marker to the next dealer or claiming the deal for oneself.

Later, when President Harry S. Truman visited a federal reformatory in El Reno, Oklahoma, he noticed a sign that read "The Buck Stops Here" and liked it so much that he had the slogan emblazoned onto a desktop sign and eventually used the phrase in several of his speeches. Truman's usage of the term brought it back into the public's consciousness.

Regardless of whether any of the above is accurate or not, what is true is that the phrase "passing the buck" has become synonymous with shifting the burden or responsibility of something onto someone else. When someone says "the buck stops here," they are clearly implying that they will not pass along their responsibility or their troubles onto someone else (whether they want to or not).

The purpose of this website is to document examples of "passing the buck." Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, or an independent, you should be concerned whenever our government passes along its responsibility or problems onto someone else. In almost all cases, this "someone else" is us--the taxpayer. By ignoring or hiding serious issues, our elected leaders are not just avoiding accountability, they are lowering the ethical example for every citizen in our country. We can do better.

Special Note: We encourage readers of this website to check the facts and data presented herein. If you find any errors or omissions, please let us know immediately. We strive to be part of the solution and not the problem. Likewise, if you have any suggestions for the site or if you have any examples of people "passing the buck," please . Thanks!

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