Regulating Away Private Charity

Is it better to starve or eat something that might be a little salty or a bit heavier on calories than the government would prefer? Well, Bloomberg’s agencies in New York think it’s better for people to go hungry than to eat something they haven’t tested for nutritional value.

The Bloomberg administration is now taking the term “food police” to new depths, blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless.

In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.

The story highlights good samaritans who have been donating food for decades, but who have been turned away and their food turned down because of these new restrictions.

This is the kind of regulation designed to frustrate people into stopping their acts of charity and community work because the government knows best. If the bureaucrats can keep them from getting involved, then the government will be the only source for solving this “problem.” Reliance on government means more government employees who are doing more “good.”

I don’t mean to present this as a tinfoil hat type of conspiracy that the Bloomberg administration is purposefully letting people go hungry in order to create more dependency on the government. But, it is a mindset of many people who think up these regulations. They are the government and they know best. They might acknowledge that the good samaritans mean well, but they don’t care about motivations or even outcomes since clearly a government structure to organize it all is better than people getting involved from the community in a way that they cannot control with perfect certainty. They don’t particularly care that their restrictions may end a tradition of civic engagement because bureaucrats are paid to be engaged, they don’t need volunteers to do that work for them. It’s oddly logical when you’re working within a system that is always growing.

I actually believe that acts of private charity and civic involvement are the best ways to fight the expansion of government. Everyone heard the stories about how private companies and organizations were the first ones into New Orleans when the government workers wouldn’t get around to going in there and getting the goods the city residents needed. Normal folks, when they hear these kinds of stories about NYC turning down private food donations for the homeless, have a gut reaction that the government is going too far. It’s actually by being engaged at this level where small government advocates can pick up the stories and examples of how we don’t need the government to handle it all.

6 Responses to “Regulating Away Private Charity”

  1. Harry Schell says:

    This is the iron fist of the “progressive” mentality. Bloomberg is doubly disgusting for picking on those least able to resist to push his agenda, but the irony of it I guess is lost on him.

    It’s no wonder he is so against armed citizens who might think independently of what he and his fellow travelers is “right”. It could make fullfilment of his dreams much more complicated. Hitler is smiling.

  2. Thirdpower says:

    It’s part of a general war on non-gov’t controlled food sources.

  3. HerrBGone says:

    “… a system that is always growing.”

    Uncontrolled growth is called cancer. Cancer is often fatal to the organism. What kind of antibodies can be brought to bear against an appointed bureaucracy that has passed its own event horizon?

    • Zermoid says:

      I wish somebody would give some of these cancers a 150gr antibody…..

      Cutting off food donated to homeless and hungry people is sickening, I wonder how many tons of edible food is trashed by NY restaurants in a day?

  4. St Marks says:

    According to some hipster homeless in NYC, they prefer Catholic church run soup kitchen anyway, for variety of reasons: better service, much better food, etc. Bloomberg is solving a none-issue. I think it has more to do with his ever increasing paranoia over how NYC residents are too stupid.

    He also banned smoking in outdoor public parks (city parks) since last year because, it’s, you know, “public” park. The smokers probably never paid any tax so they don’t have a say on the “public” issue.

    • HerrBGone says:

      “I think it has more to do with his ever increasing paranoia over how NYC residents are too stupid.”

      He may actually be on to something. How many times has he been reelected?


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