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Let me check with my manager

Gregg Easterbrook on the C4C payout problem:

Meanwhile, auto dealers who credited customers with $4,500 for clunker deals are discovering federal rebate checks have not yet arrived. What’s the matter, dealers — didn’t you read the fine print? Perhaps auto dealers have fallen for a bait-and-switch! Here, a dealer negotiates with Barack Obama:

AUTO DEALER: Where’s my check for $4,500? You said it was in the mail.

OBAMA: [Waves thick contract] Look right here, subparagraph 14d. It clearly states the money will be paid on the third Tuesday of a month that begins with a waning gibbous moon. You read subparagraph 14d, didn’t you?

DEALER: No — I was tired — you assured me it was just paperwork.

OBAMA: Well! Maybe I can still get you the discount, if you buy rustproofing and splashguards.

DEALER: Your ads didn’t say anything about rustproofing.

OBAMA: [Waves printout] Look, I am giving you everything below my cost. See, here’s my factory invoice. My revenue is $2.2 trillion, yet I am spending $3.9 trillion. [Note: actual federal budget figures for current fiscal year]

DEALER: Wait a minute — if you’re really selling below cost, how do you stay in business?

OBAMA: We make it up in volume.

DEALER: Just give me my $4,500!

OBAMA: OK. I have to ask my manager. [Disappears into back]

DEALER: I wonder if he’s really checking with his manager.

OBAMA: [Returns] Tell you what, you can use the $4,500 as a down payment on the $11 trillion debt your children will owe. While you’re here, would you like free health care? It’s going to cost you.

The lead-in is also good. It’s in the middle of this football story.