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Nationally Syndicated Columnist Dave Barry Ridicules the Rain Forest

Excerpts from . . .

Federal deficit: Meet the other white meat

Dave Barry

The Miami Herald (and syndicated national distribution)

Sunday, March 7, 2004

[Note: This excerpt is from material copyright by Dave Barry and the Miami Herald, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Other uses may require the permission of the copyright holders.]

TODAY'S TOPIC IS: Famous Hollywood Celebrities Having Sex With Squid! Actually, that is not today's topic. I'm just trying to attract readers to today's actual topic, which is: the federal budget deficit.

WAIT! Come back! This is an important topic! Especially if you are a young person, or belong to a future generation yet unborn. Boy are YOU in for a surprise in a few decades! Ha ha!

To help you understand what I am talking about, here's an explanation of the federal budget deficit in the ''Q.'' and ''A.'' format, which enables us to simplify complex issues, while at the same time wasting space:

Q. What is the federal budget deficit?

A. It is a gigantic number of dollars -- like 300 jillion skillion drillion -- that the federal government is spending, despite not actually having it.

Q. Is that legal?

A. It is if you have nuclear weapons.

Q. Why does the government spend so much money?

A. Because it must pay for important federal programs such as Social Security, the War on Terrorism, and the artificial rainforest in Iowa.

Q. The WHAT?

A. True fact: Just recently, Iowa Sen. Charles ''Chuck'' Grassley got the government to toss in $50 million for a project to build a tropical rainforest under a giant dome in Coralville, Iowa.

Q. How will they heat it in the winter?

A. We are guessing pig flatulence.

Q. What is the compelling national purpose for building an artificial rainforest in Iowa?

A. It will provide the nation with something that, in these difficult times, is desperately needed.

Q. Votes for Sen. Chuck?

A. Exactly. But also it will, theoretically, attract millions of theoretical tourists from all over the nation to Iowa, driven by the proven, unquenchable thirst of Americans to enjoy the rainforest-in-a-dome experience. The rainforest will also teach important educational lessons.

Q. Such as?

A. Such as that Congress is as trustworthy with money as a crack addict who is experimenting with heroin. It's not just the Iowa rainforest: This year Congress has voted to spend more than $10 billion on pork projects, including (these are all real expenditures) $200,000 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, $2 million for a youth golf program, and $90,000 to study olive fruit flies in France.

Q. It's about time! If one of those olive flies gets up your nose, you might sneeze, and your martini is GONE.

A. That's why Congress is stepping in.

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