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Saturday essay: 'Casablanca' moments

| Saturday, March 26, 2011

From Wisconsin's Capitol to the smallest local school district, government's many agencies are having their "Casablanca" moments in a fashion most farcical.

Just about everyone knows the scene from the 1942 classic movie: In shutting down Rick's Cafe, the prefect of police is suddenly "shocked" to learn of gambling -- just as he's handed his winnings.

Government apologists, in their best imitation of Capt. Louie Renault, are aghast that public money somehow is much tighter now. In Pennsylvania, the usual suspects, actors all, could use some mustard to go along with their ham.

Exactly when did state universities, county governments, local jurisdictions and all the hand-wringers in between miss the news flash, repeated at regular intervals, that the commonwealth is in the hole for $4 billion• Or that in a governor's race far from any photo finish, the austerity advocated by Tom Corbett was inevitable?

Neither did this troupe acknowledge the trap, indeed, the pitfall , of the federal stimulus. But no amount of bailout cash could sustain spendthrifts lost in the desert of their own fiscal disregard.

Expect more "Casablanca" moments from all who gamble their future on government's entangled entitlements.

These days, those who turn to government for its replenishing "waters," to paraphrase Rick Blaine, are sadly misinformed.

- - Bob Pellegrino

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