“Shame on you,” said Christie, with King saying his GOP colleagues “put a knife in the back” of New York and New Jersey. The outrage of these supposed fiscal conservatives was all the more breathtaking for its apparent sincerity.

The bill they loved was stuffed with pork that had nothing to do with Sandy, including $150 million for Alaska fisheries and $17 billion for groups The Wall Street Journal called “liberal activists,” with the money disguised as community-development and social-service grants.

Equally important, the $60 billion figure itself was little more than a edited version of the $80 billion back-of-the-envelope target agreed to by Christie, Gov. Cuomo and Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut. There was no pretense that it was an actual accounting of damage or promise that the money would be spent wisely and efficiently. They were simply trying to get the most they could.

That’s how the game is played. The entitlement culture means windstorms and floods now automatically trigger a claim on federal taxpayers to cover all costs, instantly and without scrutiny.