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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

History of the Medical Center. Costs of the buildings. Lavish medical care, costs of operation of socialized medicine under the Hague machine. The payroll as a source of party funds. Hague's office in the Center. Control of the Medical Society. Special services for politicians.

Either a Prince spends that which is his own, or his subjects', or else that of others; ... it does not take away from your reputation if you squander the property of others, but adds to it; it is only squandering your own that injures you.

FRANK HAGUE'S PRIDE AND JOY is the gigantic Jersey City Medical Center, whose seven skyscraper buildings, the highest buildings in the city, dominate the landscape, jutting up above the surrounding slums like seven cliffs above a swamp. Whenever indefensible acts are attributed to his regime, his adherents always come back to his record on health and hospitals; and indeed who can be found to oppose health and hospitals?

In his recognition of the political possibilities of hospitalization Hague stands unique among American bosses: he alone has seen the way that lavish medical care can be used to disarm criticism, and that it is practicable to have children literally born into the organization, obligated to it from the first squalling moment. Cared for during the recurrent illnesses of youth, they come to associate health itself with the generous political party that has guided their city for decades; they will no more vote against Hague than against life. When they marry and have children of their own they too are born in the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, which is medically as good a maternity hospital as can be found anywhere. And finally in the rheumatic pains of old age they go to the Medical Center for care and comfort. Unless the end of life comes suddenly on the street or at home, the citizen is likely to leave Jersey City as he came into it – although from a different building – indebted from his first moment to his last to the organization. He paid for the service, or someone did, but Hague gets the credit and the votes.


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