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Saudi Arabia wants subsidy for lost oil sales

When you think "chutzpah," rarely is Saudi Arabia the first association that comes to mind. Chutzpah is a Yiddish word for the quality embodied by the fellow who kills his parents, then asks for mercy because he's an orphan. Saudis tend to be Muslims. Their affection for things Yiddish is virtually undetectable.

Nevertheless, if you're looking for a hand-tooled, gold-leafed example of outrageous chutzpah, Saudi Arabia is the place to go.

The Saudis, it has been reported, think that nations fighting global warming by reducing their use of oil should pay Saudi Arabia a fee to make up for their loss of business. Let me repeat that: They think that we should pay them something extra for using less oil.

Sort of makes your eyes cross, doesn't it?

"Assisting us as oil-exporting countries in achieving economic diversification is very crucial for us through foreign investments, technology transfer, insurance and funding," a Saudi official told The New York Times. Well whoop-dee-do. The sheiks are sitting around in their gold-plated palaces, bleeding us dry while their worthless progeny gamble in the beaches of the French Riviera (when they're not plotting a terrorist attack against us), and now they want a little something extra to sweeten the deal.

Wouldn't you think that with oil at $80 a barrel they could fund their own economic diversification and their own technological transfer and insurance?

Moreover, Saudi Arabia is teeming with Islamic schools that do little but preach hatred for Jews and Americans. The least they could do is shut them before asking us for a handout. This isn't the first time the issue has been brought up, I'm told, but it's the first I've heard of it and I'm having a hard time getting used to it. I'm sure my ears will stop ringing any day now.

On the other hand, why should we be surprised? After all, haven't we already...

- Given AIG and other looters billions of dollars to reward them for sucking the economy dry?

- Paid General Motors and Chrysler handsomely for not selling cars?

- Absorbed the losses of dozens of large financial firms so that they could continue paying their executives obscene bonuses?

The Saudis are merely getting into the mainstream. You're nobody these days unless you can get someone to reward you for failure, or at least for not trying to succeed. It all started, I suppose, when we started paying farmers not to grow things. That set a bad example.

We followed that up by giving both Israel and Egypt big annual payments so that they would stop trying to kill each other. When people talk about our foreign aid, basically they're talking about Israel and Egypt. The rest of our foreign aid -- humanitarian, military -- doesn't amount to much. And, lest we forget, we gave both Germany and Japan a great deal of money after World War II to make up for the fact that they'd attacked us and lost. And, to their credit, they haven't done it since.

OK, I can play that game. I'm not going to attack anybody, neither the United States nor Israel nor Egypt; not even Canada.

Furthermore, I don't grow surplus crops or drill for oil. I have never offered anyone a subprime mortgage loan and I have no intention of doing so. Hell, I don't even cut my lawn. I want a subsidy.

It doesn't have to be a big subsidy, just something to let me know that all of my inactivity is appreciated. And if required, I can diversify; besides not cutting my lawn, I won't clean my garage. Technological transfer, insurance and funding are what I'm looking for, particularly funding.

I'm thinking something in the low six figures would be nice. How about it, Mr. Obama? I'd even pay tax on it, which is more than Saudi Arabia will do.

Have your people call my people. We can make this happen.