I was jogging past the Capitol the other morning when a Democratic congressman, Doug Anderson, stopped me and said, "Are you a member of the middle class?"

"You better believe it," I told him. "Everyone who knows me says that I'm middle class.""Then," he said, putting his hand into his briefcase and pulling out a fistful of dollars, "you are entitled to a tax cut."

I was embarrassed to accept it. "I thought you people were trying to balance the budget," I said.

"We are, but that doesn't mean we can't afford to give the middle class a little `walking-around' money. After all you are hard-working, salt-of-the-earth people and a credit to the class you represent," Anderson explained.

I was about to take the cash when a Republican named George Cloutier came up to me and said, "Don't take his money! The Republicans are prepared to offer you twice as much relief as the Democrats can come up with. We'll even throw in a capital gains reduction of 50 percent."

"That's very nice of you," I said to Cloutier.

"But won't your cuts add to the national deficit?"

"Of course not. The less taxes people pay, the more they can take home and spend. That will encourage investment in the country and create jobs for the cheats on welfare."

Cloutier went to his briefcase and pulled out a bunch of Orange County, Calif., derivatives.

"What are those?" I asked Cloutier.

"They're as good as gold," he assured me. "Take them to any brokerage house and trade them in for cash. By the way, this is only for the middle class. Do you have any proof that you are one of them?"

"All my suits are from Sears Roebuck, my shoes are from Thom McAn, and I have a dog named Spot."

Cloutier smiled, "That's good enough for me."

Anderson was furious that the Republicans were stealing me away. He said, "We'll give you a tax cut of 25 percent and an additional 25 percent off the price tag."

I took the money and ran. As I was jogging past the White House, President Clinton came out and spoke to me. "I notice by the way you are perspiring that you are a middle-class person and I would like to give you a tax cut."

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"I was just given one on Capitol Hill," I told the president.

He said, "Mine is more breathtaking than anything they're offering, and it doesn't conflict with my strict fiscal policy."

"How can you afford to do that?" I asked.

"We have a saying in Washington, `If you have to ask what a tax cut will cost the country, you can't afford it.' "

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