Page 16 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • January 14, 2009 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 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 ever-dwindling 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 nonproductive 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 rule-of-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 Let’s keep rowing as the feds keep on bailing Yale Whiffenpoofs to perform The celebrated Yale Whiffenpoofs (pictured above) will present a cappella arrangements when they appear in Ramsey on Friday, Feb. 6. The performance will be held at 8 p.m., at Don Bosco Prep’s chapel. The Whiffs are the world’s oldest and most famous a cappella group. Every year, 14 senior Yale University men are selected to join the group. Founded in 1909, the Whiffs are dedicated to singing and fellowship with music lovers. Their musical repertoire ranges from classical jazz to English folk songs, and Motown hits of the ‘60s to recent popular hits. The group’s signature ballad, “The Whiffenpoof Song,” gained national recognition when Rudy Vallee recorded a solo version in the 1930s. The song was later recorded by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, and Elvis Presley. This year, the group will be celebrating its centennial with a full century of musical excellence in over 200 concerts, recording an album and embarking on a 17-week world tour. The Whiffenpoofs have performed for Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton, Mother Theresa, and the Dalai Lama, in venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Rose Bowl. Tickets for the Whiffenpoofs are priced at $85 and include a pre-concert dinner with the artists, and a postconcert dessert reception at the Don Bosco Prep band room. For reservations, call (201) 327-8003 extension 188. Don Bosco Prep is a Catholic college preparatory school founded in 1915, educating 900 young men to pursue academic, athletic, artistic, spiritual and personal excellence. The school is located at 492 North Franklin Turnpike, Ramsey.