Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Chairman: I hope you all had a pleasant lunch. These hearings of the United States House Committee on Financial Services are now called to order. Mister Benjamin Levine, thank you for coming here. Are you The Wandering Jew?
Barney Frank (D-MA): Mister Chairman, please insert into the record that The Wandering Jew may be a medieval European legend of someone who taunted Christ on His way to the Crucifixion and was condemned to walk the earth until the Second Coming.
Bachus: Duly noted. Are you that man, Mister Levine?
Levine: No, that would be my cousin Arthur. I am a wandering Jew, but properly speaking he is the Wandering Jew. Don’t feel bad. People get us confused all the time.
Bachus: So are you two-thousand years old?Levine: Just last week. I’m three months younger than Arthur but we are a long-lived family. My great-aunt Naomi in Boca Raton is definitely getting on a bit. She still does her own shopping, however.
Frank: So your cousin was cursed, but not you?
Levine: Look, Arthur was a little drunk because he had just passed his exams, and he said something quite inappropriate to the Christian Messiah who, I can tell you, was having a very difficult day. For that Cousin Arthur got cursed. These things happen. I called Arthur an ill-mannered so-and-so, and for that I got cursed too but it was a nicer kind of curse.
Bachus: And what kind of curse was that?
Levine: Since then, I have to spend a million dollars a day until the Second Coming of the innocent person what Arthur insulted. From my perspective it could be worse.
Frank: How do you get that kind of money these days?
Levine: Bank transfers. Whaddya’ think? Angels deliver it in nickels?
Bachus: And how much does it total so far?
Levine: About one trillion dollars, so not really much money by your standards. A million bucks a day since the time of King Herod comes to just under a trillion spondulas, while you guys run up even more government debt in a single year. It’s very impressive. My hat’s off to you.
Frank: Mister Levine, how do you go through a million dollars a day?
Levine: You I should be asking the same question, but much bigger
Bachus: Answer the question, please.
Levine: Well, I’m married and that helps. And we eat well. And sometimes my neighbor Harry and I go to the track and play the ponies, so that disposes of some. But mostly my wife, Rachel, and I give it to charities. How do you get rid of yours?
Frank: (to Bachus) By you Republicans invading foreign countries!
Bachus: (to Frank) By you Democrats and your wasteful welfare programs!
Frank and Bachus: (softly, in unison) By…um…paying off our political supporters.
Levine: Whatever works. Gentlemen, in the Second Century I had some time on my hands so I got pretty good with an abacus. I figure that if you guys pay off your debt at a buck a second, it’s gonna take you 470,000 years. That’s 465,999 years more than Rachel and I put together, because she’s a year older than I am. You guys are in deep guess-what.
Bachus: We’re trying to find a solution.
Frank: (to Bachus) The answer is print more money as stimulus, you dummy!
Bachus: (to Frank) But don’t spend it on socialised medicine. Invade countries with oil, you pinko!
Levine: Gentlemen! Gentlemen! You could do to each other what you both do to me.
Bachus and Frank: What’s that?
Levine: Rachel and I came to America in 1777. So, we got the good news a year late. No big deal. In the past two years, President Obama ran up more debt than 100 Congresses did; more than from George Washington’s inauguration to Bill Clinton’s. I watched it myself.
Bachus: And so?
Levine: Then in 1971 that schmendrick, Nixon, dumped the gold-standard so you politicians could spend even faster by printing money like lunatics. So, in 1971 my curse paid for 400 Buicks a day and it was hard to park them all at our condo. The neighbors would object. Now, 41 years later, all your inflation means my million a day only buys about 40 Buicks, which are much easier to park. I use Buicks as a metaphor, of course.
Levine: Keep printing money and inflation shrinks your debt away. Eventually, Rachel and I could spend a million bucks a day on two coffees and a muffin. At our age, sharing one muffin is sufficient.
Frank: (whispers to Bachus) Should we send him to the Budget Committee?
Bachus: (whispers to Frank) Send him to Starbucks.
Levine: Of course, since most of our fellow Americans aren’t cursed with a million to spend every day, they’ll all be broke and their pensions and savings will be worth bupkiss. Rachel and I will be down to a shared muffin, and that won’t go far split up among our 300 million countrymen. Especially as America’s total debt is almost $700,000 per family. But your debt problems will be solved. I can show you on my abacus which I brought it with me just in case.
Frank: People won’t mind?
Levine: Mind? They’ll do to you what crowds did to Savonarola in 1498, and he didn’t even play patty-cake with the money-supply. The torturers spared his right arm so he could sign a confession, then he went to the stake. Not a pretty sight. Rachel said never again do we take a vacation in Florence.
Bachus: Gee…um…thanks a lot, Mister Levine.
Levine: If you ask me, you could cut spending and start paying what you schnorrers owe people. But I should live so long!
Bachus: Yeah. Sure. (to Frank) Who’s next?
Frank: Paul Krugman.
Bachus: Thank heaven.
(Thanks to Mel Brooks, and “34 Shocking Facts About U.S. Debt” at lewrockwell.com)
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