Things in the nation’s capital get curiouser and curiouser everyday for those who pay attention to what’s being said and done (and who aren’t the ones actually doing the doings and saying the sayings and those who are supposed to report on them in the Fourth Estate).

First, Senator Kent Conrad (D.-N.D.), chairman of the Budget Committee, shreds Barack Obama’s budget by half (the discretionary part at least, so don’t get your hopes too high for a balanced budget any decade soon) and leaves no money in it for health care reform. He does, however, leave some wiggle room in something called “deficit-neutral” reserve funds.

Now, I assume “deficit-neutral” means something like “don’t add to the already-ginormous budget deficit,” but it’s probably just another way of saying one thing and allowing another to occur. Thus “don’t increase the deficit” becomes “don’t talk about increasing the deficit even as you do.”

At least, that’s the conclusion I drew from Senator Max Baucus, D.-Mont., chairman of the Finance Committee, when he immediately observes: “I’m very happy that healthcare reform does not have to be paid for in the first five years. We could not do meaningful healthcare reform [otherwise].”

In other words, we’ll do what we please and the press (Fourth Estate) will interpret away all the red ink for public consumption.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just print money in our basements?