Parliament of Whores is a lot more rollicking than this meditation on the federal budget. Mr. O'Rourke gives the best, shortest, explanation of the savings and loan scam, and notes, "Beginning in the late 1970s, savings and loan lobbyists produced a bloody flux of political-action-committee funds and other influence effluvia, and members of the House and Senate stood by like toilets with the lids up."

He takes apart U.S. farm policy, which he calls, "along with North Korea and the Stanford liberal arts faculty, one of the world's last outposts of anti-free-market dogmatism."

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