Disasters, enforcers, and waivers

New York City health inspectors have been harrassing post-Sandy relief workers:

Bobby Eustace, an 11-year veteran with the city’s fire department tells FoxNews.com that on Sunday he and his fellow firefighters from Ladder 27 in the Bronx were issued a notice of violation for not maintaining restaurant standards in a tent set up in Breezy Point, Queens, to feed victims and first responders. . .

Eustace says that the Health Department worker then checked off a list of violations at the relief tent, including not having an HVAC system and fire extinguisher. “He told us that he might come back to see if we fixed the violations. . .”

(Via Instapundit.)

When questioned, the NYC Department of Health said that its inspectors were only supposed to give advice, not issue violations. Of course, that’s exactly what they would say. (It might even be true, but government must be judged on its actions, not its reportedly good intentions.) Moreover, even if we accept that the inspectors were only supposed to give advice and the department somehow failed to communicate that simple fact to the inspectors, the fact remains that the department sent out health inspectors to interfere with relief workers, however rigid that interference was supposed to be.

The key fact I want to note is that this doesn’t somehow happen automatically. Someone thought it was a good idea to send health inspectors to interfere with relief workers and ordered that it be done.

This incident is depressingly typical. During the Gulf oil spill in 2010, the Coast Guard shut down an oil skimming operation because they did not have the required number of life jackets and fire extinguishers on board. Again, someone decided to do this. Indeed, the entire oil spill debacle was greatly exacerbated by the Obama administration’s punctilious enforcement of counter-productive rules.

This brings me to my central point. The people currently running our government will issue waivers as they see fit, mostly to advance their own political agenda (more on the pernicious effects of this in a future post), but no one can expect a waiver from their overbearing state simply because such a waiver ought to be issued!

Put another way, they issue waivers to serve their interests, not ours. You only want to serve people made homeless by a hurricane? Tough. You only want to clean oil from the Gulf of Mexico? Too bad.

So when the EPA writes milk-storage rules so broad that they cover spilled milk, and they say not to worry, they would never enforce it that way? Don’t you believe them. Someone is itching to enforce that rule.

Which brings me to Obamacare. The Obama administration has issued countless Obamacare waivers to mitigate the disastrous effects of their legislation. Why? Because they didn’t want it to be seen as (even more of) a disaster in advance of the election. But the election is now behind us. Do not expect those waivers to be renewed.

These people are itching to enforce those rules. If some people lose their jobs, what do they care? This administration made it very clear in 2009 and 2010 that nationalizing health care was more important to them than employment. If lots of people lose their health insurance, what do they care? They don’t want you to have private health insurance anyway.

These people send health inspectors to keep disaster victims from being fed; you think they care about your job, or your health insurance? Think again.

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