Craig J. Cantoni
You’ve probably seen the news coverage of House of
Representative members grilling Wall Street executives about their extravagant
spending while taking public money. You
might not have seen the subsequent grilling of Tom, Dick and Harry by the House
Financial Services Committee. I’ve
obtained a transcript of the hearing, and here are excerpts:
Rep. Barney Frank: The next witness before the committee is
Tom Schmuckatora of Cleveland, Ohio. I’m going to begin by reading some facts about the witness into the
record and then asking the witness to verify that they are true. Mr. Schmukatora is 70 years old and 60 lbs
overweight. Because he has ignored his
doctor’s advice to lose weight and restrict his consumption of fat, sugar, and
cholesterol, he has had two bypass surgeries and has let his diabetes reach a
critical stage. So far, his Medicare
bills total $50,000 more than what he has paid into Medicare. Yet he recently bought a new Buick Lucerne
for $35,000 and then paid an extra $5,000 to have it customized with a Landau
top. Is that correct, Mr. Schmuckatora?
Tom: (Dressed in plaid golf pants] Yes, but you can’t expect me to pull into a
handicap parking space at the golf course in a Honda Civic. Not only would my friends laugh at me, but I
couldn’t fit into a car that small.
Rep. Barney Frank: Shameless! I’ll call the next witness, the president of
AARP, Dick Dinglehopper of Washington, D.C., who, by the way, has a cute rear
end. My esteemed colleague, Rep. Maxine
Waters, will interview him while I wink and leer at him.
Rep. Maxine Waters: Mr. Dinglehopper, I understand that AARP and
its 30 million members have resisted all proposed reforms of Social Security and
Medicare, even though the Comptroller General has estimated that the unfunded
liabilities for both entitlements total more than $60 trillion. Other reliable sources put the liabilities
closer to $100 trillion, or nearly $1 million for each American under the age of
18. Whatever the number, it makes the
recent stimulus bill and bank bailout look like pocket change by
comparison. Do you agree?
Dick: No, I don’t agree. AARP’s
economists have calculated the liabilities to be $24.95.
Rep. Barney Frank: The witness is excused -- excused from
the hearing, I mean, not excused for his selfishness and greed. By the way, he’s invited to my next orgy with
House pages. The next witness is Harry
Huckleblarney of Great Plaines, Nebraska. My esteemed colleague, Rep. Luis Gutierrez will interview him.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Mr. Huckleblarney, I understand that you
have a net worth of $2 million and had a net income of $200,000 last year. Yet you received $43,000 in farm subsidies
last year and will receive $50,000 this year under the stimulus bill. Do I have the facts right?
Harry: [Dressed in bib overalls] Yup! And I appreciate the bipartisanship of Democrats and Republicans in
supporting the American farmer. President Obama is proud of the way that you guys work together to
protect farming jobs and rip off grocery shoppers.
Rep. Barney Frank: Let’s take an orgy, er, lunch break,
now. We’ll reconvene at two o’clock to
hear the testimony of other common folk who feed at the public trough. Meeting adjourned. Now where did Dick Dinglehopper go?
author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at email@example.com
. When he headed
a large grassroots group in New
Jersey, he testified before a congressional
sub-committee along with 12 members of the NJ congressional delegation,
including Senators Bill Bradley and Frank Lautenberg. When the sub-committee chairman called a
break, the chairman began speaking and laughing with a big-shot lobbyist from
the opposition. While the TV cameras and
reporters were still present, Mr. Cantoni yelled out, “Hey, how about giving
equal time to John Q. Citizen?” In other
words, he showed the respect that Congress deserves.