• What if Hurricane Rita (search) ends up being a $20 billion storm — or more? And the storm after her, $20 billion or more?

    What if Hurricane Katrina's (search) $100 billion dollar cost proves considerably more? And that even minor storms end up costing major bucks?

    Do we keep forking over those bucks?

    At what point do we say, "We're out of bucks"?

    Well, if you're the treasury secretary of the United States, you start discussing ways you might conserve those bucks. Now he is hinting at postponing extending tax breaks. This in the same week that some Republican congressional leaders more than hinted about postponing costly programs.

    I'm not smart enough to know the answer. I am smart enough to know this money doesn't come out of thin air.

    Only in Washington can you draw against a limitless credit line. Oh, if you and I were so lucky.

    No, we have to find a way to pay our bills: maybe work a second job, maybe not take that big vacation.

    The issue, I think isn't the money coming in. It's the money going out. It's not that we're not taxed enough. It's that we keep spending more than enough. Somewhere, somehow, we have to adjust.

    There is nothing wrong with helping people. There is everything wrong with losing accountability for helping people.

    A government that promises all limitless resources only ends up testing its own. It's against the laws of nature — even now, as it fights Mother Nature.

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