No sooner was it announced than we were told it was dead on arrival. Well, announced isn’t really the way to describe it; leaked would be better. Last week it came out that the official Office of the All-Intrusive Nanny State, otherwise known as the Department of Health’s Partnership for a Healthier New York City, had developed a proposal to significantly reduce the number of establishments selling and serving alcoholic beverages in the city.
The goal stated was to reduce excessive and underage drinking. As if longer lines at the local bar would deter teens and alcoholics. The Bloomberg administration immediately announced this proposal was not going to become official policy, causing thousands of small business owners around the city to breathe a sigh of relief that they weren’t about to be targeted by “Big Brother.”
Ultimately, this proves that there are far too many people working in government who have nothing better to do than think up ways to mess with our lives. Whether it’s smoking, trans-fats, salt or anything else, no matter how good the justification may seem is this really what we want government for?
Meanwhile, there are far too many people working in government who just have nothing better to do. Just look at the recent MTA debacle. For the entire week from Christmas to New Year’s, the MTA cut bus service, with the goal of saving money for the cash-mismanaged agency. Unfortunately, thanks to an uncooperative union, the drivers who should have been home with their families, instead were on the job. But with few buses to drive, they spent the week at depots playing cards and watching daytime TV.
If that’s not enough, the NYC economy is not looking good for the coming year. Job growth almost ground to a stop in the second half of 2011, and the city unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent. The financial services industry lost $3 billion in the third quarter and is expected to fall another 14 percent in 2012.
The bottom line here is that our government doesn’t work. Not well anyway. In good economic times we can find excuses to overlook the overspending and mismanagement. But times aren’t good and look to get worse. Our taxpayers are strapped. With increases in local taxes, doubling of common civil fines and fees and enforcement on steroids, we are teetering on the brink. There is no more blood to get from this stone.
We can no longer afford an Office of the Nanny State working overtime on how to run our lives or workers on the clock not working at all. It may take some radical ideas to make our government work, but we can’t be afraid of change.
Robert Hornak is a Queens-based political consultant, blogger, and an active member of the Queens Republican Party.