Certainly such sentiments are noble and should be embraced by all. If you can help, you should.
Of course, the government doesn’t always want you helping, or makes it so hard that you cannot help.
We first reported on this lunacy back in November of 2011 where a soup kitchen in Morristown, New Jersey that had been open every day without fail for over 26 years was facing shutting its doors because the state government had declared the safe, well run kitchen a “retail establishment” based on the number of people it was serving, not because of it charging anything for its services.
The additional costs for eliminating volunteers, training paid employees and upgrading food stations to restaurant quality would be over $150,000 per year. That is $150,000 that could be going to help people that instead would be diverted to issues that had never been a problem in the establishment.
We said it at the time and will repeat it again: that is friggin’ nuts.
Later in the year at Christmas, Cody Walter of Billings, Montana was told he could not provide Christmas dinners for the handicapped and shut-ins because the kitchens in the homes of volunteer cooks were not certified to be “safe” for preparing food for public consumption. The state said they were only concerned with “public safety” in telling Walter he could not help neighbors and those in need.
The state’s assertion was, of course, reindeer muffins.
Not to be outdone by other states, the city of New York has now told people who brought excess food to shelters they can no longer do so because the state cannot monitor the salt, fiber and fat content in the items being donated. This means if a store has some excess bagels, the state believes it is better the bagels go to waste rather than feed the homeless. The regulation also applies to homemade foods. A soup or stew, for example, cannot be donated to a shelter trying to feed people because the salt, fiber and fat content cannot be determined.
Andy Williams, the president of Freedom Bank in St. Petersburg, Florida, finds himself at odds with the city council and the city’s code enforcement.
At issue is the digital sign out in front of the bank.
The sign not only advertises the name of the bank, interest rates, specials, etc, it also has the ability to display the image of an American flag.
That, says the city council, is against the law.
To be fair the regulation does not target just digital images of flags, it targets any image on a a digital sign. In St. Petersberg, if you have a digital sign that rotates messages, that sign may not display images.
The rules are aimed to limit possible distractions to drivers and to keep the city’s streets from becoming cluttered with lighted pictures.
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say the idea that a sign with a flag on it being distracting is not even in the equation. That is just an excuse. The real reason is that someone decided they do not like the signs, and therefore wanted them to be be restricted.
We have several issues with this type of restrictions. First, we have a strong belief that a person or company should be able to do what they want to on their property unless it directly affects or infringes on the rights of others. Dumping chemicals into the ground affects others. A sign with graphics doesn’t affect anyone. Frankly, if you are distracted by a sign with the image of a flag, you shouldn’t be driving to begin with.
This type of restriction leads to the government being able to ban just about anything:
To get certified, preparers will need to register and pass a competency test. Some will need to be fingerprinted, pass a background check with the FBI and take continuing education classes.
The IRS estimates the licensing fee for each tax preparer at between $250 and $275, but H&R Block expects the cost will be more than $400, including state fees and its own background-check expenses.
For companies such as Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block, the fees are an imposition, but not a stumbling block. For the tax preparer who prepares taxes on the side or even as part of a small business, the fees cut directly to the bottom line.
The IRS claims the tests and fees are to prevent individuals who set up shop during tax season and then disappear preventing prosecution for fraudulently filed taxes.
However, there is also a great possibility the fees and tests are simply a new tax without being a tax.
As the proposed rules stand now, fees would hit about 450,000 preparers particularly hard — those lacking professional credentials as lawyers or certified public accountants and those registered with the IRS as preparation supervisors.
Fees and competency tests could drive out honest preparers along with swindlers, said Chuck McCabe, chief executive of the Income Tax School in Richmond.
“The fees definitely do pose a barrier to entry,” said McCabe, who noted that tax preparation has been a valuable job opportunity for many older people and women with young children looking for part-time work.
The tests and fees would result in $112,500,000 to $180,000,000 headed toward the government.
The IRS tries to make a case for the fees and licensing:
A few days ago we noted and took issue with the new rules for day care centers as proposed by the State of Colorado Department of Human Services. Some of the rules that concerned us included the snacking rules, the food rules, and the “pleasant greeting” rule where a child must be greeted everyday by a staff member using the child’s name and in a “pleasant voice.”
One of the more perplexing rules says that if there are dolls in the day care center, the dolls must represent a least three different ethnicities.
We thought the rule absurd and political correctness gone amuck.
The requirement may be illegal as well.
There are serious First Amendment problems with the Colorado agency’s demand that day care centers post multiple displays promoting diversity — a classic example of compelled speech and viewpoint discrimination:
If the Colorado Department of Human Services Child Care Division makes these rules final, they should be challenged in a First Amendment lawsuit (in addition to whatever infirmities these rules may have under state law).
Part of the “social contract” we have with each other is that we will abide by the “rules of society” as exemplified by “laws.” Generally speaking, laws are rules that allow people to co-exist without infringing upon the natural, God given rights of others.
But what happens when the “rules” start to infringe on the choices people make? Or the choices that businesses make? Does the government have a moral or ethical right to make a law or set of rules for people or businesses to follow unless there is harm (or potential harm) to others? Can a set of laws intrude so deeply into the fiber of our life that they render choices moot? How about in a business?
Can the government make a set of rules and regulations that are so restrictive that the business may not make decisions that are either advantageous to the company? Or that their customers will like more than a company that makes different choices for their business?
The “definitions” used in the proposed rules alone take up nine pages.
Also, because we are an equal opportunity blog, we have a little bit of Rule 5 eye candy for our lady readers.
The Washington Post has an interesting article on “Boast Busters,” who are people who verify the authenticity of people who claim to have been in a particular branch of the military or have been awarded medals.
Once in a rare while, impostors get hauled into court. It’s illegal under federal law to impersonate a member of the military or to wear unearned military honors. But few perpetrators are prosecuted. Clever impostors found a way around the law by showing off their medals without wearing them. The Stolen Valor Act of 2005, which tried to close that loophole by outlawing verbal and written claims, set off a court battle over whether liars are merely exercising their right to free speech.
Years ago, there was an advertising campaign for Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Ads would show two people – one eating chocolate and the other eating peanut butter – walking down the street. They would bump into each other and one would say “Hey! You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” The other would reply “You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!”
Of this post, one could say “Hey! You got health care in my regulation post!” or “Hey! You got regulations in my health care post!” Hopefully, like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, the post will be better with the two ideas as opposed to keeping them separate.
When it comes to health care, many people look to Canada as a system to which the United States should aspire. This is despite the fact that Canada has long waiting lists, rationed health and many of Canada’s citizens cross into the US to pay for higher quality services in a more timely manner. Of course, such a system requires “regulations” that are absolutely absurd.
Imagine if you will that you are a married dentist with a loving spouse. You provide dental services to the spouse. After all, who wouldn’t use their expertise to support their family? Would you expect a mechanic to send his spouse’s car to another mechanic? Would you expect an electrician to farm out wiring a new light switch in your home?