There used to be a day when Americans took care of Americans. During that time period, countless charitable organizations and individuals gave millions of dollars and hours in efforts to take care of the homeless, the victims of natural disasters, political refugees, orphans, and the ill and infirm.
While there are still millions who give time and money to human charities, more and more people have adopted government as their favored conduit of kind giving. It is in this atmosphere of today where good people can announce a desire to take care of the homeless and in nearly the same breath opine that they pay enough in taxes to do so.
Indeed, how many government departments at the national, state and local levels were entirely created to help the needy? And yet, it has been proven time and again that agencies of the government whose primary goal is to assist with social needs are greatly less effective than private operations designed to do the same thing. (A proof that also happens to apply to every other category of government benevolence.)
It is an attitude that elevates an impersonal and inefficient government to the level of caregiver while at the same time it encourages individual citizens to abdicate their God-given responsibilities to take care of their fellow man.
As if this system isn't ineffective enough, government itself is aggressively staking out its territory as care giver and is systematically threatening private caregivers with regulations that could drive their selfless charities off of the street corner.
Today's example comes from Houston, Texas, where a married couple is being told to stop feeding the homeless for lack of a permit; a permit that the local officials say is very unlikely to ever be granted.
Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.Who, I'm sure, would prefer chowing down on a discarded half-eaten Big Mac to taking a chance on a bowl of hot soup prepared by someone who couldn't produce the required papers.
That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their "Feed a Friend" effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one.
"We don't really know what they want, we just think that they don't want us down there feeding people," said Bobby Herring, a Christian rapper who goes by the stage name Tre9.
Anyone serving food for public consumption, whether for the homeless or for sale, must have a permit, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department. To get that permit, the food must be prepared in a certified kitchen with a certified food manager.
The regulations are all the more essential in the case of the homeless, Barton said, because "poor people are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness and also are the least likely to have access to health care."
h/t Drudge Report