1. The Mail Anatomy
I went to the post office two years ago to mail some packages. It was around 4:15 p.m. The post office was closed. Weeks earlier, that post office always had been open until 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. Now they suddenly were closing at 4:00 p.m. It was not a holiday, Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving Eve. Just a regular weekday. I soon would learn that the post office’s hours had been reduced to save the Government money because the post office runs at such a large deficit that it essentially is bankrupt but gets propped up artificially because a country has to have a postal service, even if it does not have borders.
So I traveled twenty minutes to the next-nearest post office. It was not yet 5:00 p.m., and this one still was open. There were eight clerk stations or windows, and I took my place on a line of customers that extended so long that it reminded me of the first night of a Harry Potter or Star Wars movie. Of the eight windows, six were closed. Only two clerks were serving the — uh — caravan. I waited on line, bored to tears. Whenever this happens, I try running through my mind certain passages from the Torah that I have memorized. Then I do the 45 American Presidents in order. Then I do it again, this time with each state they were from. Then a third time, this time remembering the years each guy served. Grover Cleveland is the coolest.
The line barely was moving. I tried starting a conversation with the guy in front of me, but he did not speak English. I turned to the woman behind me, and she did not either. So I returned to the Torah passages and Presidents.
Nowadays, when I want to mail a package, I go to a private mailbox store. I use them for a postal box, too. I drop off mail with them. I avoid the post office (assuming it is open) as much as possible. I use UPS or Fed Ex whenever I need to send something time-sensitive. In lieu of mailing bills, I pay online. I do not know how the private store does it, but he stays open until 6:00 p.m., never has a line of more than three people waiting, always gets me served within ten minutes, and still seems to run a profit. He is so efficient that, in time, I would forget the Presidents. But there still is the DMV.
2. Driven Crazy
In California, you can get these nifty personalized license plates — “vanity plates” — for a few extra bucks. They have to meet certain standards and rules (no curse words, no hate speech or threats) and they have to fit within the number of characters. I opted to get myself a vanity plate that most people would not understand, but rabbinic colleagues would love it. So I order it online through the Department of Motor Vehicles, and it finally is ready a million years later. We all know that prisoners make license plates. Now that the Democrat legislature has emptied out the prisons, I guess there is a manpower shortage for impressing seven letters on a piece of metal. Also, California schools being what they are, not all high school graduates have cultivated the skill of recognizing twenty-six different letters.
The day came that my vanity plates were ready. I went down to the DMV to pick them up. It was worse than at the post office. The line literally extended a full street block outside the building. It barely was moving. Back to Torah passages, American Presidents, their states, their years in office. This line was so static that I launched myself on a new mind game to while the hours: reciting the Presidents — and the names of their wives. It is not so hard when you begin with George and Martha Washington, John and Abigail Adams, Thomas and Martha Jefferson, James and Dolley Madison, and James and Marilyn Monroe.… But then I had to skip around. I had been at Andrew and Rachel Jackson’s gravesites at the Hermitage, James and Sarah Polk’s burial sites at the Tennessee state capitol in Nashville. Of course there’s Abe and Mary Lincoln. And then the more recent ones since FDR and Eleanor: Harry and Bess, Ike and Mamie, JFK and Jackie and Aristotle, LBJ and Lady Bird (actually Claudia), Dick and Pat, Gerald and Betty, Jimmy and Rose-a-lynn, Ron and Nancy, George and Barbara, #MeToo Bill and the Crook, George II and Laura I, Obama and Michelle, and Trump and Melania. Grover Cleveland is the coolest.
Bored? Well, thanks for joining me on line at the DMV. By the time I got inside the building, within sight of the front desk, it was the same thing: oodles of windows and clerk stations, all closed.Only one lethargic woman at the front reception desk for initial triage. After every third patron, she stepped away for a ten-minute “break.” When she finally got to me, she gave me a code with a letter and number, pointing me to the waiting area. They will call my code soon, she assured me — right after the hundred people sitting there before me.
I since have learned the names of the remaining Presidential wives for my next visit to the DMV. However, I am doing my best now to avoid using that new skill. Instead of traveling to the DMV, I now do all my DMV transactions at the Auto Club, a private for-profit enterprise. I do not know how the private sector does it — the effectiveness, the efficiency, the quality of service — and clearly neither does the DMV.
3. Entitlements, Illegals, and the Changed Culture of American Immigration
The Government cannot run a mail system with the efficiency, quality, or care that the private sector can. They cannot get a license plate made within a month and cannot hand it to you within two hours. Do you really want to place your health, your life, and the lives of your loved ones in a nationwide Government-run health program if you can avoid it?
Understand that the Obamas never will have Government healthcare. They and theirs will have private physicians to their dying days. Same with all members of Congress. That is how it works. The Socialist Redistributionists who actually are millionaires — the Obamas, Clintons, the Bernie Sanderses, the CNN and MSNBC anchors, the De Niros and Streeps, the Colberts and Kimmels and Oprahs, all with their many houses and vacation homes around the country and the world — these people ain’t standing on line for healthcare, waiting six months to see a doctor and another two years for the surgery prescribed. Rather, the Government healthcare that is their brainchild will be imposed on the suckers who vote for them — and, honestly, the suckers deserve it — and also on the rest of us.
In many ways, Government healthcare is the inevitable result of bringing into the country millions and tens of millions who do not have money and cannot pay their fare, expecting to be supported by the taxpayers. A century ago, to be admitted into America, an immigrant needed documentation proving that he or she was self-supporting or had family who personally would guarantee that they would support the immigrant. There were no food stamps. No “entitlements.” Immigrants were “entitled” to — nothing. If you wanted in, you could not be a burden to the taxpayers who had paid for the upkeep of this wonderful country that you were seeking to enter.
That is how my grandparents got in. Zeyde and Bubby did not live off the taxpayers. They arrived, had family backing them, and then the family made clear that they would not be backing them forever if they did not get to work. So one grandpa sewed doll’s shoes and the other sewed men’s vests. When three-piece suits went out of style, he figured out something else. He learned English because no one was offering voting ballots in Yiddish, and the utility companies did not have options for Yiddish speakers. Their kids went into the public schools, where there was no bilingual teaching, so they had to learn English. Most of them went on through college. Uncle Jacky became a professor of mathematics. Uncle Murray ended up in NASA. Uncle David and Uncle Joe ended up starting a florist business, where they employed grandpa after his sewing days were ended. Uncle Alex became a lawyer, Uncle Mendy a rabbi, Uncle Iz an entrepreneur. That is how immigration worked for Jews, for Germans, for Italians, for Irish, for Polish, and for all immigrants in the days before “entitlements.”
We Americans created a great country by working hard, the “Protestant ethic.” Another day, another dollar. A penny saved, a penny earned. And never live off charity. Yet we are a remarkably generous country, a country of kindness. Indeed, we give so much charity just through foreign aid that, honestly, it makes no sense. We give hundreds of millions and billions to countries that hate us. So we are not only charitable but, to a great extent, exceptionally foolish. But we do it.
This kindness attracts the attention of the world’s poor. They see this land as a haven of unlimited wealth. Immigrants always have seen America as a golden land. Reciprocally, we benefit greatly from the arrival of hard-working, responsible, family-oriented newcomers. They bring energy, idealism, even remind us why we not only must stand during the national anthem but should have tears of thanks in our eyes. But those are the immigrants who come here to build America by conforming to America and our values.
The mess we now have is that we have millions, perhaps ten million, perhaps twenty million, who never came here to conform to us, our Constitution, and our values. Rather, they came here to enjoy what we have built and to change us to conform to them. It is their right to want to change us. But it likewise is our right, as master of this house, to set the rules.
In the abstract, Democrats know what is right and wrong. We all see the YouTube replays of Harry Reid, Biden, Schumer, Obama speaking about the need to protect our borders, the craziness of birthright citizenship, the notion that we cannot afford to pay for healthcare for all. They know. But they also have seen, from the California experiment — sanctuary cities, seats set aside in the University of California for Illegals and their children, Illegals being invited to vote in school board elections — that Illegals and endless entitlements are the route back to political power. The Democrats have lost the Caucasian Middle Class, Caucasian women, blue-collar ethnic Catholics, Caucasian union workers, even seniors who used to rely on them for Social Security and Medicare. Remember: today’s 70-year-old senior who votes Republican was born in 1948 and was twenty years old when he was rioting in 1968 at Columbia University and at the Chicago Democrat Convention. Today he is Republican and wears a “MAGA” red hat. That is why the Democrats need Illegals and entitlements.
4. The Sickness of Medicare for All
There never has been an entitlement like Government healthcare for all. We hear that it will cost $32 trillion, but half the country does not understand what that means. They truly do not understand that the money needs to come from somewhere. If it comes from the taxpayers, that will mean higher taxes, which will lead to business retrenchment, loss of jobs, reduced wages — back to Obama and Jimmy Carter. Half of our country just do not grasp that bad economic public policy leads to their misery. They get fired during a corporate downsizing and do not grasp the cause-and-effect, just as they do not grasp that the Trump tax cuts not only save them taxes and gave them a quick $1,000 or $2,000 “crumbs” bonus but also led their company to earn more money throughout the year, resulting in end-of-year pay hikes for the first time since pre-Obama.
Government healthcare will not exactly bankrupt America. The Government will just print more paper money, increase taxes, and sell more debt to China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. At first it will seem nice — no co-pay for the doctor, no deductible, no insurance premium. Healthcare for everybody! And it costs nothing! Only with the passage of time will people find screwy things unfolding. Prices on everything at the store will skyrocket as the dollar loses value in the face of inflationary pressures. Salaries will not rise on par with price increases, so buying power flattens. Tax rates will rise. Companies will retrench. Jobs will be cut. People will lose work. Some newly unemployed younger people, idle all day, will turn to crime. It spirals.
Meanwhile, medically, doctors’ offices will be overwhelmed as more patients schedule more visits because they are not charged. It’s all free; it all costs nothing. Lines inexorably will get longer. Appointments will take longer to schedule. Surgeries will take longer to schedule. The Government will save money by refusing to cover certain medical procedures, certain diagnoses, certain medicines. Seniors who paid all their lives for good Medicare at retirement and extra for Medicare B will find that, at certain ages, certain treatments will be denied them because the Government has to save again, to cut costs. And if cuts must be made, the seniors already have had their 70 or 75 years, while the new Illegals and their birthright-citizenship children need to be cared for as they burden the system financially.
The problems we read and hear about the V.A. healthcare — which, after all, is Government-provided healthcare — will spread to all healthcare. The Obamas won’t mind. The Bernie Sanderses won’t mind. The Left Democrat billionaires of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the entertainment industry won’t mind. They will find private doctors and will have the money to pay for the best private care, whatever the cost. But for the average American, all the sweet-sounding talk about “health care for all” will prove a hoax. And the only place you will be able to meet a decent doctor may end up being when the best ones leave the profession, fed up and tired, and instead welcome you at their new jobs at the private mailbox store or the Auto Club.