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Federal Supermarkets
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, May 12, 2006

Cafe Hayek blogger Don Boudreaux writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review...
Government K-12 schools, as now run everywhere in the U.S., will never excel at educating students. The reason is that each school gets its students and its budget without having to compete for them. Imagine if, say, supermarkets were run the same way we run schools. Everyone in my county would pay taxes to fund the county supermarket system; each one of us would then be assigned one specific county supermarket at which we are allowed to shop.
[...]
If the products and services supplied by the supermarket are of poor quality, we're not allowed to switch to other county markets; we must, instead, complain to politicians. The managers of the supermarkets will agree that their stores offer abysmal service and undesirable products; they will assert that this sad fact is caused by underfunding. We will be warned that only by paying higher taxes will we have any possibility of getting better supermarkets.

So our taxes will rise and funding for supermarkets will increase. But quality will remain poor — and the excuses offered by the government-employed managers of the supermarkets will remain that they need yet more funding.
Yes, let's imagine!
Somebody has to ensure that the citizenry is getting a proper diet.
First, instead of ubiquitous small-to-medium size supermarkets, we'd have Regional Food Supply Centers [RFSC] that would put Wal-Mart's Supercenters to shame. Sure, we'd all have to drive further to visit these mammoth stores — bring on the busing program! — but think of the economies of scale! And try not to think of the crowds!

Each Store would require a Nutritionist. I mean, we can't just let people make these decisions for themselves, or stock what people buy. Somebody has to ensure that the citizenry is getting a proper diet. A Nutritionist for each RFSC! Naturally, each Nutritionist will require an administrative assistant, so each store will have to hire another person. And the Nutritionist can't operate without information, so they'll either need a staff of research assistants to determine the eating/health status of the consumers, or they'll have to deploy the cashiers/baggers/stockers of the RFSC to collect the data. Which, naturally, will mean the RFSC needs more employees to cover the additional work. And another layer of administrative staff to analyze the data and turn it into RFSC purchase patterns.
How can the RFSC know what foods to provide if you don't eat your pudding won't cooperate?
Oh, and now the customers will be required to participate — for their own health, of course — in this project by supplying dietary and health information to the RFSC. How can the RFSC know what foods to provide if you don't eat your pudding won't cooperate?

So now, a trip to the grocery store takes much longer, requires a dietary analysis and restricts your food choices based on social health data. And the government has a complete record of your consumption patterns.

Naturally, we can't just have teenagers and unskilled laborers cashiering, stocking and bagging this food. Food supply is a critical part of soceties infrastructure, so it follows that food workers are a Critical Part of Societies Infrastructure — at least as important as teachers, police, etc — and should be paid accordingly. So every cashier, bagger and stockboy will start at $30,000/yr with full benefits.

And this being government work, there will be no more of this "utility player" stuff, where a bagger just does whatever the boss needs done. No, this Critical Part of Societies Infrastructure is now a Food Supply Management Specialist and he can do nothing but Manage the Packaging and Delivery of Food. (i.e., bag groceries) If the Produce Department needs additional help now and then, they'll just have to hire (full-time, with benefits) another Produce Specialist. (a union member, of course)

Naturally, all of these human resources problems will require a dedicated HR department for each store. The Store Manager, Nutritionist, Stock Manager, Labeling Manager, Cashier Manager, Bagger Manager, Janitorial Manager, Pharmacy Manager, Transportation Manager and Employee Morale Manager all belong to Unions which expressly forbid them from doing Human Resources work, so an entire new layer of administration will be required for that. And a different building to house that administration. Naturally, they'll have a Union, too.
hey, delivering the right food to you proles is hard
Anyway, what with all the money we're now spending on administration — hey, delivering the right food to you proles is hard — there's just not enough money to continue catering to the small segment of the population that likes specialty foods/brands. So, we're going to eliminate those and focus on our low-cost leaders. Who needs 100 different kinds of cereal, makeup or frozen pizza, anyway?

And since we did that, the Voters have Let their Representatives Know that they expect more. A couple of wealthier States away, the consumers are buying different products and — equality under the law, you know — customers of the local RFSC demand access to the same goods as other regions have. So, after a series of lawsuits, the RFSC has now re-added those previously unprofitable goods.
No Customer Left Behind, they call it and everybody gets exactly what the government decides they deserve.
And then, to forestall further lawsuits, the Federal Food Supply Agency decides that they'd better just standardize RFSC's across the nation. No Customer Left Behind, they call it and everybody gets exactly what the government decides they deserve. It's not what you might call "Good", per se, but it certainly does fulfill our national value of equal opportunity.

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Skip forward a few years when some health issue arises — fat, diabetes, heart problems, or just the Health Scare du jour. Because, due to government legislation removing responsibility from the individuals involved, these are now externalities imposed upon our national health care agencies, the Federalized RFSCs will be pressed into action to solve our National Food Consumption-externality Crisis.
Forward Together, you know.
Sure, you have to drive further, the selection is very limited, and it's going to cost more to shop at these RFSCs. But these are the kind of sacrificies that patriotic citizens make in civil society for the Common Good.

All we need is a few more Good Ideas and a little more money to implement them and we'll have this thing solved. Forward Together, you know.
 
NOTE: yes, yes, the preceding was a satire. That sort of thing could never happen in the United States, land of the free, home of the brave, etc, etc.
 
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Ms. Rand would be so proud.

JasperPants

/Sounds like a nightmare right out of Atlas Shrugged, it does

 
Written By: JasperPants
URL: http://
Why is it every time some pundit gets a great idea how to help people or fix a problem they perceive it has something to do with more taxes and more government?
 
Written By: Christopher Taylor
URL: http://networdblog.blogspot.com/
Sounds like HillaryCare, er... Tenncare?, er...Social JusticeCare?
When will Justice return to meaning getting what you deserve? Oh, excuse me, that’s right for that to work someone would have to have judgement which means they would be judgemental.
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
I just waiting on pins and needles for Mkultra’s feckless attempt at a takedown of this razor sharp satire.

The only thing that surprises me is that the libs/socialists/progressives/marxists/statists haven’t seriously tried to nationalize food production and delivery. Heartless b*st*rds.


 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
the libs/socialists/progressives/marxists/statists haven’t seriously tried to nationalize food production and delivery

Yet. You mean yet, Mr. Unknown.

"Seems to be a deep instinct in human beings for making everything compulsory that isn’t forbidden." (- Heinlein)

Nice writing, Jon.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Actually I think the government run grocery stores already have a name. We call them PXes.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
the libs/socialists/progressives/marxists/statists haven’t seriously tried to nationalize food production and delivery


Not in this country. But they did in the Soviet Union (and probably other places.) You know the results: famine among the food producers; dingy stores with two items for sale, both poor quality; long lines for scarce items; and, of course, "special" stores for those who ran the whole mess.
 
Written By: justnacl
URL: http://

 
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