One of my favorite "Taxi" episodes ever is when Andy Kaufman's character, the foreign-speaking auto mechanic Latka Gravas, discovers that his $3,000 penthouse apartment was $3,000 per month!
Latka's stunned, looks around the place he now knows he cannot afford and starts saying: "Goodbye apartment; goodbye panoramic view. I'm going to miss you."
Suddenly the money Latka thought he had, he didn't have and the price of things he thought he could afford, he couldn't remotely afford.
Too bad Latka never ran for Congress, because he could have kept that penthouse apartment and charged it to the government.
That's the beautiful thing about Congress: Spending money it knows it doesn't have on programs it knows it can't afford and at a pace it knows it can't sustain.
Latka woke up. Congress doesn't have to.
Latka realized he didn't have the dough. Congress quite happy to spend ours.
Now for most folks in this country, even guys like Latka not from this country, if you don't have the money you thought, you re-think the goodies you gotta have.
Latka gave up on the apartment. Congress just bought the building; and for good measure, the whole city block.
A pricey health program here, huge auto rescue there, big bailout over there, sandwiched between a health care package, a stimulus package; so many packages, so little time, so little money.
Funny, little Latka knew on a situation comedy that he was no serious fiscal player. Pity in real life, Congress seriously thinks it is.
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