The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


In a post from January,  I spoke of how my grandmother, mom and aunt survived the Great Depression.  Food was both scarce and sacred.  I will never forget grandma saying at dinner, “Now eat everything because there are children in China who are starving.”   I always took her admonition seriously and my plate was always clean.

It still bothers me today when food is wasted.

When I lived in Chicago, an acquaintance who was a public school teacher told me that in his school, the milk which was provided at luncheon for the students which went unconsumed was dumped at the end of the day.

“Dumped,” I asked.  “You mean thrown out?”

“Yes,” he replied.

This bothered me immensely on several levels.

First, of course, was the sheer waste.  Second, why couldn’t the unopened cartons be gathered up and distributed to children who were poor?  I’ve bought a few gallons of milk in my time and I know that they usually come with a ten day to two week expiration before the milk sours.  Third, the National School Lunch Program has been an ongoing Federal program since 1940.  This program subsidizes the distribution of milk to school children and that subsidy is paid for by the taxpayers.  What an incredible waste of taxpayer money.

I asked my acquaintance if he knew why the milk was thrown out rather than given at no cost to children who needed it.  He responded that he thought that it had something to do with liability should the milk turn out to be bad.

Of course, the illogic of that statement stunned me.  We apparently didn’t worry about the liability of selling it to our school children at a low price but were afraid that children who received it for free might wind up suing the Federal government.

Well, I took this as merely another sign of bureaucratic bungling – and surely, if we are looking for ways to trim fat and waste from government, this is, to use a metaphor in keeping with our subject, really “small potatoes.”

And then today I read a story about a woman near Philadelphia who is being threatened with fines of $600 per day because she is distributing food for free that is provided by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to needy children in her neighborhood.

This is the link to that story:

I don’t care if you’re a union worker, an entrepreneur, a secretary, between jobs, a temporary worker; I don’t care if you’re a Libertarian, Democrat, Republican or an Independent; I don’t care if you’re an Anglican, a Jain, a Muslim, an agnostic, an atheist or a Shinto; if you have an ounce of reason I hope you will agree that this is merely another example of “Government Gone Wild.”

At a time when many of us are struggling; when we have three and one half years of the worst levels of unemployment since the Great Depression; when an increasing number of our citizens are dependent on subsidies for their mere existence and the numbers sinking below the poverty level are escalating; it is hard to describe the position of the Pennsylvania Township’s council as being anything other than, “Beyond Stupidity.”

Comments on: "BEYOND STUPIDITY" (15)

  1. Your headline says it all. Good post.

  2. Reblogged this on A Heapin' Plate of Conservative Politics & Religion and commented:
    Is the government the solution or the problem? It can be the problem when the bureaucracy runs amok at the expense of the needy they supposedly serve. This post comes from one of my favorite bloggers.

  3. Great article that people need to read. It’s not only federal and state laws that put people in risk of law breaking but stupid zoning by-laws as well. Laws have become too vague and the concept of intent has disappeared. It is now estimated that every individual commits an average of three felonies per day simply be going about your day to day life.

    From Ayn Rand:

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    This is a trend that needs to be protested and eliminated. As government grows your liberty comes under increasing risk of loss. This situation of having so many laws on the books without the consideration of intent is vile and morally bankrupt and must be spoken out against at all levels of government.

    “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” ~ Edmund Burke

    With respect to the dialogue over the size, scope and power of government and the tone used one each side of the aisle, one might want to consider the following in determining which side is the most intemperate and therefore less likely to foster liberty, justice and a free voice.

    “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

    • Thank you, Rick for your commentary. I couldn’t agree more with either the Rand or Burke quotations.

      I truly believe that if we were to go through all the laws which have been enacted on a local, state and federal level and were to delete 90% of them, we would all be far better off. If it’s too complicated everyone is likely to be in violation. The tax code is a perfect example. Apparently it is so complex that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, now in charge of overseeing it, couldn’t get it right in filing his own return.

    • Juwanna and Rick — Great post and great responses. Do we need another word to enter the language that means “beyond stupidity”? Or do we already have one I am not thinking of? Or maybe Tom is right — maybe there is no better way to say it than “beyond stupidity”.

  4. Ninnyhammer would be another favorite.

  5. Whatever we call it, it’s a shame that the condition exists (and appears to be so pervasive) that we have to have as term for it.

  6. Reminds me of the old story of an Indian holy man visiting the west for the first time. Reporters asked him what impressed him most about the West. He said “The garbage cans” which caused a lot of surprise. So the reporters looking for a headline out of that asked why. He said, “In India we eat food, in the west it seems you throw it away.”

  7. God, this makes me sick to my stomach. And what can we do about it, is the real question? This #$%! has GOT to stop.

    • I don’t know the answer to your question. I guess we need to find people who have an ounce of intelligence to be administrators. Apparently, we’re looking in all the wrong places for them.

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