Good Luck With That Operation

James V. DeLong

So the government is going to run the health care system?

Last week, a friend in DC was having some interior painting done, and needed to get street parking permits for the workers, since she lives in an area where only residents can park longer than two hours. She was called away on a family emergency, so I undertook the task.

I checked the D.C. government website, which told me to go to the police station for the area, where they could issue the permit. I was instructed to take proof of residence in the form of utility bills, plus information and tag numbers for the vehicles to be parked. So I collected the information and drove 15 minutes to the station. (What could go wrong?)

When I arrived, I learned that permits for logo-ed contractor trucks are not issued by the police. (If the website says this anywhere, it is buried.} For these, I had to drive half an hour to the downtown HQ of some other agency.

Nor could I get a simple visitor's parking permit at the police station. Only the homeowner could do that, even though I had the bills with her address on it, was acting for her, she was away on an emergency, and I could have reached her by phone right then.

The young policewoman who listened to me complain about these events was calm, polite, and utterly indifferent. That I had a problem was no concern of hers. That I was a citizen and a taxpayer did not make me a customer. That I was irritated by all this simply put in the crank category.

When I finally mumbled something about "this damn city" she looked puzzled and said, "all cities run like this."  

My first reaction was that indeed they do. But issuing a minor parking permit is the most trivial of tasks, and only a contemporary liberal government could make a hash of it, and then have no insight into its own incompetence. Monty Pelerin had an article in AT recently called Kevorkian Economics, about all the economic subsystems that are run by the government, and dying. But now they can't even do parking permits?

My second thought, since I am well into geezerhood, was that I was looking at the face that will someday be sitting on my death panel, and it will have the same expression of polite, and complete, indifference.  

James V. DeLong is VP of Convergence Law Institute. He is writing a book on Ending Big SIS (the Special Interest State) & Renewing the American Republic.

So the government is going to run the health care system?

Last week, a friend in DC was having some interior painting done, and needed to get street parking permits for the workers, since she lives in an area where only residents can park longer than two hours. She was called away on a family emergency, so I undertook the task.

I checked the D.C. government website, which told me to go to the police station for the area, where they could issue the permit. I was instructed to take proof of residence in the form of utility bills, plus information and tag numbers for the vehicles to be parked. So I collected the information and drove 15 minutes to the station. (What could go wrong?)

When I arrived, I learned that permits for logo-ed contractor trucks are not issued by the police. (If the website says this anywhere, it is buried.} For these, I had to drive half an hour to the downtown HQ of some other agency.

Nor could I get a simple visitor's parking permit at the police station. Only the homeowner could do that, even though I had the bills with her address on it, was acting for her, she was away on an emergency, and I could have reached her by phone right then.

The young policewoman who listened to me complain about these events was calm, polite, and utterly indifferent. That I had a problem was no concern of hers. That I was a citizen and a taxpayer did not make me a customer. That I was irritated by all this simply put in the crank category.

When I finally mumbled something about "this damn city" she looked puzzled and said, "all cities run like this."  

My first reaction was that indeed they do. But issuing a minor parking permit is the most trivial of tasks, and only a contemporary liberal government could make a hash of it, and then have no insight into its own incompetence. Monty Pelerin had an article in AT recently called Kevorkian Economics, about all the economic subsystems that are run by the government, and dying. But now they can't even do parking permits?

My second thought, since I am well into geezerhood, was that I was looking at the face that will someday be sitting on my death panel, and it will have the same expression of polite, and complete, indifference.  

James V. DeLong is VP of Convergence Law Institute. He is writing a book on Ending Big SIS (the Special Interest State) & Renewing the American Republic.