03/12/2008 06:52 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Village Eliot

So Governor Eliot Spitzer has acknowledged importing a prostitute from New York to Washington DC. This certainly seems like the 21st century, service economy version of carrying coals to Newcastle. One would think it would be possible to find a prostitute in Washington, but maybe Jack Abramoff's experience had a more salutary effect than we imagined.

Perhaps the governor was merely trying to build a strong record of supporting the small businesses of New York. It's like making sure that New York State champagne is served at official functions -- however good the quality is, it is secondary to the desire to be seen supporting local industry. Had Spitzer a little more time to frame his response, he might have tried to explain this transaction as a prototype for a new economic development initiative that soon he would bring to Utica and Schenectady, the Finger Lakes and Buffalo, anywhere the local small businesswomen would appreciate some special attention from Albany.

Has anyone figured out exactly how much Spitzer paid Kristen? At one point, according to The New York Times, the agent for the Emperor's Club VIP ("Who's the Emperor? You're the Emperor!'') told Client 9 that he had a credit of $400 or $500 on his account. The next day, when the transaction took place, he was told that his bill was $2721.41. Round trip train fare would have been $198 (note that the frugal governor underwrote neither a $329 round trip ticket on the shuttle nor the $418 high speed Acela service) Assuming the credit was for $500, and that he reimbursed the train fare, that means it's likely he paid $3000 for Kristen's attendance. But what would the remaining $25.41 be for? Particularly the 41 cents? Can't we round things off for the Emperor? And just out of curiosity, what does the reported top of the line $5000 package provide that the 5'5'', 105 pound Kristen would not?

By the way, in 1993, Heidi Fleiss was charging her Hollywood clients $1500 for an interlude with one of her top shelf girls. According to the Consumer Price calculator of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, goods and services purchased for $1500 in 1993 should cost $2238.06 today. Apparently there's been a bubble in something other than housing.