Dear Dr. Boli: How can I maximize my federal return? —Sincerely, Mr. James Otis, Boston.

Dear Sir: Dr. Boli is delighted to hear from a wise investor. Millions of American families have fallen into the unfortunate habit of investing quite substantial sums in our federal government without ever inquiring what returns they may expect on that investment. These poor souls end up funding ridiculously unprofitable schemes like billion-dollar bombers or the Interstate Highway System. The savvy investor must ask himself, “How can I invest my money in the federal government so as to maximize the return on that investment?”

For this purpose Dr. Boli recommends the purchase of a congressional representative. Members of the House of Representatives may be bought for a surprisingly low initial outlay—often no more than a weekend in your ski lodge or a flight to the Bahamas in one of your private jets that was going there anyway. But the small investment can reap a substantial profit, since the House of Representatives is constitutionally responsible for the government’s purse, making it an assembly of 435 potential Judas Iscariots. Select your representative after a careful survey of his committee memberships. If you choose wisely, you may be able to secure not only a good deal of federal money for your favorite projects but also a substantial discount on government services.

—Dr. Boli’s secretary has just suggested that you might have been asking how to maximize your federal income-tax return. In that case, nothing could be simpler. If you are looking at it on your computer screen, there is a small “maximize” button near either the upper left of the window or the upper right, depending on your operating system. Click on that button, and the window will fill the screen. If you have the tax return on paper, you may copy it to a larger sheet of paper with a pantograph. Since this operation can be tedious, Dr. Boli would recommend having your children do it.

CONFIDENTIAL to Mr. James G. Blaine: That depends. How much is it worth to you to have the letter burned?