FRANCE: Leather Seats' Budgets

To preserve the seats of their trousers as long as possible, French bureaucrats sit on round pieces of leather, are known derisively as les ronds-de-cuir. Cozily last week they closed the books on the French Budget of 1916, obtained the Senate's approval for their final audit which showed a deficit of 22 billion (old style) francs or 110 billion present-day gold francs. When a Senator protested at the ronds-de-cuir delay, Finance Minister Louis Germain-Martin hotly assured him that a mighty reform is under way which will permit all French budgets to be...

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