If your employer gives you an accounting of the sums withheld from your paycheck, do two things:

Take a good look at how much is withheld for federal taxes.

Read our "Government Out of Control" installments on "The Regulators" and get a better understanding of how some of your money is used -- and misused.

Sunday's first installment was enough to turn a taxpayer's stomach.

It opened by relating two events that took place on the same day, June 25, 1975. Both involved Exxon and the United States government.

On that day, Exxon began discharging 450,000 gallons of polluted water into the sea just east of Prudhoe Bay (for which Exxon would later pay a fine of $100,000 for violating Environmental Protection Agency regulations). Also on that day, EPA awarded Exxon Research and Engineering Corp. a $965,000 contract to write a report about how EPA should control pollution from the offshore drilling activities of Exxon and other oil companies.

An isolated instance of poor management? No, indeed. Staff writers Honathan Neumann and Ted Gup says it is quite common for the government to pay large sums to private industry for its advice on how the government should regulate the adviser's industry. Neumann and Gup provide enough examples to give an honest taxpayer a king-sized headache.