The Tyranny of the Well-Meaning
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” C.S. Lewis
I spent most of today angry. No, that’s not strong enough; I was furious for a good portion of the day, to be completely honest. I was furious because we were informed this morning that, because of the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010”, another of this president’s Orwellian-named do-gooder pieces of signature legislation (this time pushed by the First Lady), our restaurant will lose 3% of our sales. Let me explain: our store has a partnership with schools in Cobb County whereby we provide chicken biscuits that the schools sell as a fund-raising tool. We give the schools a nice discount; we make money, they make money, kids are fed. Sounds good, right? Only now, because of this insufferable nanny state we are being dragged into by the terminally well-intentioned, our chicken biscuit isn’t deemed to be nutritious enough for school kids–and heaven forbid parents would actually be given a choice in what to feed their children–so despite the fact that everybody has seemed to win, the self-anointed saviors of our diets have swooped in to save our kids from evil chicken.
Of course, because liberal do-gooders like the Obamas and their contemptuous co-conspirators don’t give a fig for the real-world consequences of ivory-tower theories, we will lose a big chunk of sales. Ah, well, we’re just a little too greedy, right? Well…one full-time job will be lost because of this. I know this because a.) I make the schedule, and b.) I understand math and economics. The math works out almost perfectly: one full-time job will be eliminated because of this. Oh…and schools in Cobb County stand to lose, give-or-take a bit, $75,000 because of this. Take their fundraising profits, plus the other things our store does as a part of this partnership, and from our one store alone, the schools will take this much of a hit. And of course, we’ll cut our ordering by that same 3%, harming people all up and down the supply chain.
On top of this, of course, is Obamacare. Now…our sales volume is such that we aren’t mandated to provide insurance for all of our employees (unlike hundreds of operators), but you can bet your bottom dollar that we will do what we have to in order never to reach that minimum threshhold; yes, that means that even if we get to the place where we can grow our business beyond that point, we won’t, because we’d be foolish to. Sorry to those folks whom we might otherwise have hired, but we won’t be able to afford to because of the do-gooders who want to “fix” our insurance system. Oh, and then this president wants to increase minimum wage to $9.00/hour. Now there’s a winner. This will of course result in raising prices on our food; it will provide a disincentive to hiring, and could cost current employees hours/pay, just so we can dodge the wonderful works of the self-righteous who pass such laws, congratulate themselves on their moral rectitude, and retire to a cognac and a warm fire.
I fear for our country; I really do. I fear that we do not have the gumption to prevent the moral busybodies from nicely driving us into oblivion, all with the best of intentions. I fear that three more years of this horrible thinking and legislating–all done with the best of motives, mind you–will drive the dagger in too deep, and that we’ll never recover from the wound.
Today I gave my daughter some instruction. When my time on earth is over, I told her, and you are considering what epitaph to place on the gravestone, know this: the most insulting thing you could ever write is this: “he meant well”.