Page 20 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • January 14, 2009 be told the bus just stopped – forever. Immigrants from previous generations learned English by listening and by hard study at home or in religious schools. In some cases, they joined the Army to learn the language so they could set up independently and practice the necessary skilled trades they brought with them. I have many friends like that, some from Europe, some from other places. The pattern today seems to be to get here by fair means or foul, plug into The System, and let Uncle Sam find you a job that’s funded by the everdwindling coterie of taxpayers of all races and both genders who produce useful goods or perform useful services. In hard times, there aren’t enough taxpayers left to subsidize this kind of involuntary charity. Let’s stop using “education” as the ultimate pork barrel, offer taxpayer-funded scholarships only to those students who have strategic skills needed to sustain a working economy – and let the others learn that great American tradition: if you’re not a kid or disabled, you take care of yourself or depend on your immediate family and don’t ask the government you never supported with taxes or military service for a handout. People who rely on the county, the state, or the nation to solve their problems are engaged in a delusion that may plunge us all right back into the serfdom that some people came here to escape. They’re also digging themselves and the rest of us deeper into bankruptcy. New Jersey can’t pay for the cost of its own unwieldy and inept government, and Washington has long since given up trying. When I go to council meetings in conservatively run towns, I hear about the results: the State of New Jersey continues to impose mandatory expenses – big-time budget-busters – on towns where responsible and intelligent government has always practiced the lessons that responsible and intelligent people used to teach their kids. If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it. This vital if forbidden wisdom will need to be learned eventually because as everybody and his brother or sister starts to scramble out of the private sector and into non-productive government work, where the salaries are now competitive and the benefits and job security are outstanding, lines are going to have to drawn: We don’t need as assistant to the assistant’s assistant anything when kids five years out of serious colleges are still working as waiters and waitresses, the restaurant might close any time, and 10 percent of the nation’s primary residences are in foreclosure. The point of state politics seems to be getting in there and dispensing favors to pay back what it cost to buy your way into office. The point of national politics seems to be the biography. People who can get themselves nominated for the White House – in some cases elected – can make more money from advances on their biographies than the average professional writer or English teacher or college English or history professor makes in a lifetime. I don’t know that most people read these books, but public and school libraries feel compelled to buy multiple copies, so I guess the publishers get some of their advance back – and some of it probably goes to the tax coffers. It’s hard to hide the money you make from a best-seller, especially when the advance makes the newspapers and the web. A few centuries down the road, if people still know how to read, the real facts are going to look like an update of Tacitus and Suetonius. Check them out – one was a senator and the other an archivist – and find out what too much government, citizenship without responsibilities, obsession with entertainment, and the dole for the mob did for a previous empire. In the short run, we can all save ourselves with a few simple measures: in a worse-case scenario, unpaid property taxes turn into liens on the house, which mess up your credit, but which don’t lead to eviction if the mortgage is paid off. You don’t have to pay the liens until the house is sold. Most credit card companies will negotiate down their overpriced debts. You don’t really need tropical vacations or cable TV. Make the kids stay home and read. If the banks won’t loan, try your friends. You’ll find out how many you really have and save a fortune on wedding presents down the road. Make your own coffee, and drink domestic wine. Drink tap water. Who wants to live forever? And look what a little arsenic did for Napoleon. Develop a sense of humor. It looks like we’re all going to need one. The saddest cry of a miserable childhood is, “I want my mommy!” The saddest cry of a miserable adulthood is, “I want the government!” For people of common sense and common decency, the government is generally the last resort. For people who have never grown up – or for those who swam to get here or who get in deep trouble through a lack of common sense and thrift – it is the first responder. That is why nobody understands that the United States is – or used to be – a republic and why everybody including the talking heads we elect every two, four, or six years think it is a democracy. Take the U.S. auto industry – if you’ve already foisted off attempts to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. The feds just gave GM $7 billion of our money to go on making cars that Americans don’t want to buy because they fall apart too fast, guzzle too much gas, and don’t handle as well as those made by Hans, Fritz, Jiro, and Kentaro. GM is said to actually need $150 billion to go on making cars people don’t want to buy. Hans and Fritz probably don’t get paid $74 an hour for a job that is admittedly arduous and noisy, and Jiro and Kentaro definitely don’t – though they have the right to quit without getting shot, unlike their future competitors on the Asian mainland. Hans and Fritz and Jiro and Kentaro make good cars because they take pride in their work, because they want to feed their families, and because they know a lot of their neighbors don’t like the countries they come from very much, even though many of them would like to move there and usually aren’t allowed to. Having defended the American auto industry from the collateral heirs of the people we seemed to be trying to exterminate before I was born and for some years afterwards, the various U.S. county, state, federal governments now defend what is nearer and dearer to them: their own jobs. My spies note that a local college holds a holiday party every year that would be appropriate for corporations that produce useful products and pay taxes. The workers here enjoy protection absolutely unknown in the private sector, with a pension plan after 10 years and full health care after 20 years. These people don’t want to quit and some of them are building their second pensions at the taxpayers’ expense. A ruleof-thumb estimate is that this college is also about 40 percent overstaffed, with the dead wood visible throughout the structure. These are not bad people; they’re simply people we can’t afford to coddle anymore while graduates from colleges they had to study to get into with high SATs – sometimes in their second or third languages -- can’t find serious jobs. There should be no prejudice against immigrants who are willing to better the country as they better themselves. Nobody in his right mind wants to imagine what the public health sector would look like without physicians from India and nurses and medical technicians from the Philippines and Korea. These people are a vital part of saving what’s left of the American dream because they had the resources, the intelligence and the self-discipline to learn useful skills in their own countries that they offer us now when we ourselves need them. Those newcomers who want a free ride by coming here with nothing to offer – including the willingness to pay their own way while they learn to make their own way -- should Let’s keep rowing as the feds keep on bailing Letters to the Editor Dear Editor: On behalf of the Midland Park Children’s Love Fund, I would like to thank all of the generous people who chose a tag from the Giving Tree and donated gifts to help make this Christmas special for families in Midland Park who are living through a difficult financial situation. Every tag was taken; each gift was given and graciously accepted. Each gift was purchased and donated anonymously and with amazing generosity. We know that your donations were made in the spirit of giving and to make a child’s Christmas happy and we wish we could thank each of you personally. Your caring and compassion is deeply appreciated. If you missed the Giving Tree, but still feel the spirit of giving, the Love Fund is happy to accept donations of any amount at anytime of the year. Donations may be sent to: The Midland Park Children’s Love Fund, P.O. Box 327, Midland Park, NJ 07432. Again, The Love Fund and the people that they help thank you for your kindness and love his holiday season. Noreen Desbiens The Midland Park Children’s Love Fund Dear Editor: I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers for the generosity of their time and effort in working to preserve and improve our community. From our emergency services to the growing number of boards, committees and commissions, a great deal has been accomplished over the past year through hard work and tireless dedication. Franklin Lakes begins a new year that is sure to bring continued achievements and many challenges such as reductions in municipal income and government aid, constitutional obligations of affordable housing, and as with other municipalities, growing financial mandates from a state that is $2.1 billion in debt. As we aggressively face these issues with more standard solutions like prudent budgeting and developing shared services, we must also look at the opportunities – opportunities to get more people contributing to public service; to cultivate new ideas; to allocate our resources more wisely; and to put our collective best foot forward. The record of service in Franklin Lakes has been outstanding and will surely help us move ahead successfully. Love Fund appreciates support Thank you again to all of our volunteers who have contributed to this success and as always I welcome new participation. If you would like to get involved and share your time, talents or ideas, please contact me or Nancy Yarish at www. or (201) 891-0048 extension 1204. I look forward to working with you in keeping our town such a dynamic and beautiful place to live. Mayor Maura DeNicola Franklin Lakes Dear Editor: Many residents have kindly encouraged us in our battle to maintain Midland Park’s zoning regulations concerning the proposed bank/office complex on Franklin Avenue. Eleven months have gone by and Baseline Associates has yet to resolve several key issues. We have never seen a certified blueprint of the bank’s interior. Rather, we must trust a “rough sketch” of the bank only, omitting 800 square feet of the rest of the ground floor. We have been assured by Baseline’s attorney, Mr. Rogers, that “no retail space is proposed for this application.” Who or what, then, will occupy 11,250 square feet of space? This failure to divulge the truth about prospective tenants seriously impacts parking and traffic. Mr. Indyk, Baseline’s architect, anecdotally estimated that approximately 300 customers per day would use the proposed bank, not to mention the mystery office space. That is 300 more cars having to maneuver the Godwin/Franklin or Vreeland/ Franklin intersections. And there is still no traffic study! The strongest case against the planning board’s granting of Baseline’s multiple requests for variances is that for you and me, a variance is granted when an applicant is “between a rock and a hard place.” For Baseline, there is no rock, no hard place, only a clean slate (after demolition) upon which to build. In essence, then, Baseline is asking residents to sacrifice quality of life to bail them out of their investment in a smaller than desired parcel of land. Residents who have silently or verbally agreed with us that this is not what Midland Park’s future should look like, please attend the Jan. 26 meeting when the planning board will reveal its decision. Once the first bulldozer arrives, it will be too late. Nancy and Jeb Bargmann Norma and Dan Bardzell Midland Park No rock, no hard place Extends thanks to volunteers