In the past, I’ve written about all kinds of government ineptitude. Mass Transit agencies that can’t get
passengers where they’re going. Local governments warring over heliports. Billions wasted on projects nobody wants or needs. Bureaucracies duplicating tasks.
Like all Americans, I may pay for government fecklessness through higher taxes and astounding regulations that often don’t make sense, even to those charged with enforcing them. Rarely am I directly impacted, as with most of us.
Enter the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. But I offer fair warning: before doing so, suspend all belief in reality and sanity.
My story begins innocuously enough. In accordance with state law, I needed to renew my drivers license. Aside from having to spend an hour or so of my time in line at the Jersey City MVC office, this task generally isn’t painful. I go in, I fill out a form, a stand in a line, I pay my licensing fee, get issued my renewed license and I’m on my way. I imagine for 98% of New Jersey residents, the story is much the same. So you can imagine my shock at being told:
“I’m sorry, but your driving privileges were revoked in January.“
Thus began a saga that is now ongoing for a full month. Over that time, I’ve discovered more about the way government agencies fail to communicate, audit their records properly, admit errors and update said records than I ever imagined was possible. My journey through the empty vastness of government sanctimoniousness isn’t over yet, so neither is my growing frustration with the way such incompetence can seriously impede normal commerce. Over the course of the next few days, I’ll fill you in the details and keep you abreast of further developments.
Suffice it to say, this bit of personal experience makes for a far better story than any piece of fiction I could ever dream up. Feel free to drop comments and current updates by following me on Twitter.