Nebraska

Thursday, December 31, 2009
Standing in line. I have been standing in line for over twenty minutes at the Beachwood Post Office, waiting for my turn, hoping to learn the fate of my missing mail. It is Monday, December 28th and there are only five of us in line. The women look inpatient, but remain silent. The guy in his late forties is visibly agitated. As more people join our line to see the one, and only, postal worker, Mr. Unhappy tells us that we should “get used to this. This is what life will be like once the government controls health care”.

How many times have we heard that refrain since Mrs. Clinton’s attempt at health care reform? Government Health Care will have the efficiencies of the Post Office with the compassion and customer service of the IRS! I think that statement is terribly unfair to the Internal Revenue Service. I have had to deal with the IRS, for my business, several times and found the agency professional and courteous. Seriously. The Post Office, however, can be a challenge.

The Post Office should serve as a cautionary example of what could happen if the government became too involved with the delivery of health care. How involved is too involved? I will have to leave that up to each of you. My personal opinion is that if we haven’t already crossed the line, we are probably very, very close.

At the top of this post I described the line at the Beachwood Post Office. The Post Office for 44122 is located on Green Road, about a block south of Chagrin Boulevard. Where is the Post Office for 44120? The SHAKER HEIGHTS Post Office is located on Warrensville Center Road, a few hundred yards south of Chagrin Boulevard, less than a mile away. Hell, the 44120 Post Office is located within 44122. The new Post Office was built while Stephanie Tubbs Jones was still alive and serving in Congress. It was placed next to the then Office Max Headquarters in the heart of a very powerful Congressional leader’s district.

You may be wondering whether 44120 really needed a separate Post Office or if one or possibly a few of these separate buildings could have been merged into one larger, more efficient structure. Surely you have guessed that the driving force was payroll taxes to the City of Shaker Heights and not the delivery of letters and catalogues. The more control government has in the actual delivery of health care, the more politicized it becomes. Is your representative powerful enough to make sure that there will be doctors’ offices near you?

“Dave, you’re being silly”, you scoff. “Congressmen and Senators would never exercise power that blatantly.” Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Ben Nelson.

The Senate Democrats needed 60 votes to get their bill through. Technically, that meant that any one of them could have prevented passage. Technically but not really. Some, like our Senator, Sherrod Brown, were going to vote for this bill no matter what. They had no position to bargain.

Joe Lieberman was one of the first to stand up. He said that he wouldn’t accept a bill that had a Public Option. He wasn’t the only Senator. He was just the one who took the heat. Because he was willing to take a leadership role, he got his deal. Ben Nelson, coming from Nebraska, was willing to take the very public position of opposing any bill that might use taxpayer money to pay for abortions. Again, he wasn’t the only Democratic Senator who would have voted NO. He was the one willing to take the heat. For this he got the promise of millions of dollars. His fellow Senators offered to pick up the tab for Nebraska’s Medicaid bill. Poor people in Omaha may one day owe their free health care to the residents of Parma.

The Republican state attorney generals will eventually threaten to sue the federal government. I suspect that several Republican governors will also make noise. I really don’t think it matters since I doubt that the Nebraska deal clears the conference committee. But this is the start.

My letter carrier was on vacation and I may, or may not, start to receive all of my mail soon. One of the pieces of mail I may have missed was how our Congresswoman and Senator are bringing jobs and programs to our district. I’d sure like to see the report Ben Nelson sent to his.

DAVE

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