In a classic marx brothers scene from A Night at the Opera, Groucho is dining at a high-end establishment with Margaret Dumont, the heavyset woman who was frequently at the wrong end of his constant barbs. When the waiter brings the check, Groucho scans it with his eyebrows in full motion before shouting, “Nine dollars and 40 cents? This is an outrage.” He then hands it to Dumont and quips, “If I were you, I wouldn’t pay it.”Lately, I’m feeling a bit like Ms. Dumont — the gnawing uncertainty that comes when anticipating the bill in an expensive restaurant.

Or perhaps like the average taxpayer facing the current debacle that is Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. I make that comparison because experience tells me that we’re going to get at least part of the check for cleaning up their current malaise.

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