SCOTT DREYER: Waiting For the Government To Solve Your Problems?

While a friend and I were chatting after church recently he mentioned, “So many people nowadays think the federal government is supposed to solve all our problems, but our country wasn’t founded that way. What are they teaching about history in schools now?”

His remarks came to my mind just now when I went to get the mail. Among our handful of letters were two with the return address in all caps: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Considering how so many Americans today depend on those healthcare services, they may be important letters.

However, neither was for anyone in my household, or for that matter, in our entire zip code.

One was addressed to a man in Fincastle with zip code 24090, while another was to a woman with a Hardy zip code of 24101. Moreover, the woman in Hardy has a PO Box, so why was her letter ever put on a mail truck in the first place?

Seeking to be helpful, I wrote “wrong address” on the envelopes and will mail them out tomorrow and hope they get to the right people this time.

Explaining the mix-up to a friend just now, he commented “I just got a letter that was sent from Singapore on December 5, but we got it on February 6. And the address was correct!”

Granted, Singapore is on the other side of the earth. However, during the ten years I lived in Taiwan during the 1990’s, mail would normally make it between Virginia and there in about 6 days or so. In the 20-plus years since then, you’d think technology improvements would make things faster, not slower.

In addition to the late letter from Singapore, that friend said he also spoke with his post office manager about how letters among his neighbors often get misplaced in the wrong box. The manager responded: “Ten years ago we didn’t have problems like that, but now it happens all the time. It’s a mess,” he summed up.

(To be fair, no offense is intended against the many friendly, competent folks who do work at the USPS.)

Nowadays many like to trash-talk capitalism. Granted, there is no perfect system, because we don’t live in a perfect world with perfect people. However, at least capitalism gives us choices among goods and services.

Imagine you don’t like your phone service. Let’s say you’re disgusted by AT&T and its censorship.  You could easily switch to, say, Pure Talk, Patriot Mobile, T-Mobile, Verizon, US Cellular, etc. All those choices drive competition, which forces the companies to be constantly improving their service and cutting costs, lest they go belly-up.

Or if you don’t like Apple, you can skip the iPhone for an Android, a flip phone, etc.

Or if you don’t like Kroger, you can shop at Wal-Mart, Food Lion, Fresh Market, etc.

However, say you’re a Virginia resident and you don’t like the DMV. Now what? Well, you could just walk or ride your bike, but that has limitations. You could move downtown, but riding the bus has limitations too, not to mention the other drawbacks of Roanoke City that many find off-putting. You could leave Virginia and move to another state, but guess what? They have their own DMV too!

What if you don’t like your local school or school system? If you have the means, you can enroll your children in private school, or homeschool, or move to a jurisdiction with government schools more to your liking. But if you don’t have the means, you’re pretty much trapped in a school based on your zip code. In this session of the General Assembly, we’re seeing Roanoke Democrats like Sen. John Edwards and Del. Salam “Sam” Rasoul fight school-choice tooth and nail.

It’s ironic how so many politicians who preach loud and proud about “a woman’s right to choose” get very anti-choice on school-choice and lots of other options when government control is at stake.

If you’re wishing for the government to provide you with a “livable wage,” “free” housing,” “free” healthcare, and everything else, please ask yourself: would you like to have everything in your life run as if by the DMV or US Postal Service?

Plus, do you think your problems, especially your financial ones, can come from the federal government that is currently running a $35.5 TRILLION deficit?!

As someone put it, “A government big enough to do everything for you is also big enough to do anything to you.”

–Scott Dreyer

Scott Dreyer at Bryce Canyon
Scott Dreyer M.A. of Roanoke has been a licensed teacher since 1987 and now leads a team of educators teaching English and ESL to a global audience. Photo at Utah’s iconic Bryce Canyon. Learn more at


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