Carol Platt Liebau: Government Here to "Help"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Government Here to "Help"

Thanks to some overzealous helper and some misapplied government regulations, the homeless can't be fed by the good souls serving meals prepared in a spotless church kitchen.

Once again, an object lesson in the unintended consequences of government regs that sound good at the time -- but have undesirable real world ramifications.


Blogger HouseOfSin said...

Carol, first happy new year. May you have a wonderful 2007.

On the matter of regulating kitchens that serve the homeless, I agree it's foolish. But a couple of points need to be made:

-- Are you for states' rights or not? Being for states' rights means accepting state decisions that we wouldn't have made.

I wouldn't have made this decision, but I would trust Virginians to hold accountable those that so need it, if they consider this important. If we want states to honor the people's will over matters such as same-sex marriage, then we need to honor the will even when we don't agree with it.

-- To me, the real story behind this is that attorneys so control the agenda for legislation that they crowd out any incentive to do good.

If a homeless man eats a rancid meal and gets sick, who's liable? And how do you hold some mom/pop home liable for five- or six-figure damages? So, by decree, this group can't serve the poor. Problem solved. (Can it be long before the state forbids throwing food in the garbage?)

This logic is not just with the homeless. When I was a child (70's), child functions with food often had homemade food. When we had our first child (1999), parent and child functions encouraged store-bought food but homemade was OK. Today, all food at these functions must be store-bought, and this is explicitly stated. Is this because kids became sicker in the 90's than they did then? Not that I've seen. But the attorneys are more prevalent.

Alas, the kids are certainly fatter. Store-bought is often loaded with sugar and stripped of fiber. So an isolated sickness is unacceptable but across-the-board obesity is OK. Explicable only because sickness can suggest liability, but obesity can't. (Yet.)

6:03 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

HouseOfSin, are you saying that in that church kitchen the members of that same church could not cook food in THEIR OWN KITCHEN and give that same food for free to others in their church? If so, what kind of convoluted and wacky thinking is that? What is the purpose of that kitchen, and is their kitchen,
"illegal?" The state of Virginia needs to be publically rebuked ,humilitated and corrected for attempting to impose such a massive misuse of power.

3:04 PM  
Blogger HouseOfSin said...

Cliff - I never said that. I agree the decision is wrong and boneheaded. I'd be in favor of rebuking. But as a matter of principle, who should do the rebuking? I am saying, this is up to Virgininans to correct. Any other solution - feds telling states what they can license and can't, fabrication of a "right to dispense food" in the court, for example - is not where we need to go.

Moreover, as a matter of principle, why can't I perform surgery in MY OWN HOUSE with MY OWN TOOLS to others who have no health insurance? (I'm not a doctor & don't play one on TV.)

The answer is, we license and regulate surgery for people's safety. But up till recently we didn't license the right to dispense food to the homeless.

Again to my first point, I don't liken giving out free food to surgery, but then again I'm not the one to tell Virginia what to do.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

HouseOfSin said... "Moreover, as a matter of principle, why can't I perform surgery in MY OWN HOUSE with MY OWN TOOLS to others who have no health insurance? (I'm not a doctor & don't play one on TV.)"

Surgery is regulated by law, giving away free food, I don't believe is.

7:32 PM  

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