One of the best examples of how ridiculous government paperwork can be is illustrated by a recent case in Louisiana. A company president was trying to buy some land in Louisiana for a plant expansion, and he wanted to finance this new facility with a government loan.
His lawyer filled out all the necessary forms, including the abstract—tracing the title to the land back to 1803. The government reviewed his application and abstract and sent the following reply:
‘We received today your letter enclosing application for your client supported by abstract of title. We have observed, however, that you have not traced the title previous to 1803, and before final approval, it will be necessary that the title be traced previous to that year. Yours truly.’
As a result, the lawyer sent the following letter to the government:
‘Gentlemen, your letter regarding title received. I note you wish title to be claimed back further than I have done it.
‘I was unaware that any educated man failed to know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803. The title of the land was acquired by France by right of conquest of Spain. The land came into possession of Spain in 1492 by right of discovery by a Spanish-Portugese sailor named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by Queen Isabella.
‘The good queen, being a pious woman and careful about title, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope of Rome upon Columbus’ voyage before she sold her jewels to help him.
‘Now the Pope, as you know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. And God made the world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to assume that He also made that part of the United States called Louisiana, and I now hope you’re satisfied.’