Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nothing for Nothing

The first time I met John W. McCormack, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, he took me on a tour of his elegant offices in the Sam Rayburn Wing of the Capitol. McCormack didn't use these offices much, spending most of his time in his office directly across the corridor from the House chamber. But this was the end of the day, we had business to discuss, and he wanted me to see the layout. As the tour ended and we were standing near the double doors of the main entrance, Speaker McCormack put a hand on my shoulder and pointed to the paneling above the doors.

"And there is the motto for this place," he said. I looked at the paneling and saw nothing. I glanced at McCormack, waiting for the punch line. Still pointing, and in a monotone as though he were reading, he said:

"Nothing for Nothing."

Robert N. Winter-Berger, The Washington Pay-Off (1972)

More commonly expressed as "Money talks, and bullshit walks"—"bullshit", in this context, being anything and everything but money.

(And in Texas as "Bidness as usual".)

(See also "good friend", "very good friend" and "very dear friend".)

Keywords: aristocracy, corruption, plutocracy


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