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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 18, 2013/ 15 Teves, 5774

Here's the real issue

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's simple. Or so they say. Amidst the dismay over the continuing debacle known as Obamacare, the growing frustration in the country prompts a simple, widespread reaction: "Whaddya expect? It's a government operation."

Even those responsible for designing this latest government wonder say it will soon have "private-sector velocity and effectiveness." That's the word from healthcare.gov. Officials in Washington sound almost wistful for the kind of private enterprise they used to spend so much time badmouthing. ("You didn't build that!") These experts were going to make everything work so much better for all of us, thanks to all-wise, all-beneficent government.

That was a while ago, back when our social planners felt confident they could remodel a sixth or so of the national economy -- all of health care -- without too much trouble. It'd be a snap. So far they haven't even got past the first stage, designing a website that lets Americans buy health insurance, and they're already bogged down. The free market never looked so good.

So it's only natural that so many of us, especially conservatives, would assume that the basic issue here is government vs. private enterprise, the inefficiency of Big Brother compared to the speed and service of FedEx, say. Or Amazon.com.

It's not so simple. There are plenty of CEOs in the private sector, too, who manage to screw things up on a grand scale. Their specialty? Making excuses, blaming others and promising things are about to get better even as they get worse. And they keep their jobs. At least until the stockholders and maybe even the board of directors finally get wise to them.

Conversely, who doesn't know public employees who do a fine job -- the smiling lady at DMV who straightens out your hopelessly snarled application for a driver's license, the public school teacher who takes your confused and angry kid in hand and sets him on the right path, the cop that even the most stalwart advocate of the Free Enterprise System calls as soon as he's in any real trouble....

No, the real issue isn't whether private or public operations are superior, but which can do a better job -- for customers or taxpayers, investors or just people who want their old insurance back, thank you. The basic choice isn't between public and private, but between competence and incompetence.

Does anybody think there'd be this much fuss over Obamacare if it ran as well as Romneycare does in Massachusetts -- a system that, at least originally, was designed for individuals in a highly individualistic state

All the American people want is a government that works, one that respects both polar stars of American society, liberty and equality, and we couldn't care less about all the ideological frippery that our politicians and intellectuals and, yes, newspaper columnists keep serving up in irrelevant detail.



Consider the ways of a CEO who really is a chief executive officer, that is, one who executes policies. He -- or she -- takes care of business. Or finds subordinates who can. Here's an account of how one by now almost legendary CEO, Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com, operates. His biographer, Brad Stone, tells this story in his book about Amazon, "The Everything Store":

Bill Price, chief of customer services at Amazon, had claimed that hold times on Amazon's phone lines came in at less than a minute. His boss was suitably impressed. And curious. So at a meeting during the holiday season of 2000, Mr. Bezos put the speakerphone in the middle of the conference table and called Amazon's 800 number. Then he "took his watch off and made a deliberate show of tracking the time. A brutal minute passed, then two. ... Around four and a half minutes passed, but according to multiple people at the meeting who related the story, the wait seemed interminable."

Mr. Price is no longer vice president for customer services at Amazon. He was out within a year. Kathleen Sebelius is still secretary of Health and Human Services. That about sums up the difference between a chief executive who is one and a chief executive who's still a community organizer.

By now Ms. Sebelius' chief function appears to be applauding like mad at presidential news conferences when her boss assures the country (again) that Obamacare is working just fine. "This law is working and will work into the future." --Barack Obama, December 3, 2013.

Do you believe that? Did you ever?

One of the reasons Chris Christie has emerged as a presidential hope is that he sounds (and acts) like a chief executive, not a walking compendium of talking points. New Jersey's straight-talking governor will work with a president of the other party if that's what it takes to start fixing all the damage a devastating hurricane left behind. At the same time, he can balance a government budget in the most orthodox Republican way, outraging his state's labor bosses and other vested interests.

It doesn't hurt that Chris Christie's language has a Jersey bounce. During the (not so) Great Government Shutdown earlier this year, he was asked what he'd do about it. "If I was in the Senate right now," he said, "I'd kill myself."

As for all this talk about his presidential prospects, Governor Christie calls it "meaningless." Which it is this early.

At his most endearing, which is regularly, Chris Christie doesn't sound like a politician or pundit, but somebody from Jersey who makes things work. It's about time somebody did.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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