Tag Archives: nanny state

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/25/17

1. On the same New York Times front page (June 21) that announced the Georgia 6 result, surrounded by Times’ agenda-advancing stories with slanted headlines (climate change, North Korea, the Obamacare overhaul,  the “divided GOP,” and Michael Flynn) was the kind of story that once made the Times’ reputation. It was headlined, “Haven for Recovery Becomes A Relapse Capitol,” Will this story be discussed today by the Sunday talking-head shows? Of course not. The implications of it are not friendly to progressive mythology.

The story explains how Delray Beach, Florida has become a Mecca for drug addicts and a bonanza for treatment centers and “sober houses,” group living facilities for addicts. Some quotes will provide a sense of the report, but you should read it all:

Unlike other places in the United States that have been clobbered by the opioid crisis, most of the young people who overdose in Delray Beach are not from here. They are visitors, mostly from the Northeast and Midwest, and they come for opioid addiction treatment and recovery help to a town that has long been hailed as a lifeline for substance abusers. But what many of these addicts find here today is a crippled and dangerous system, fueled in the past three years by insurance fraud, abuse, minimal oversight and lax laws. The result in Palm Beach County has been the rapid proliferation of troubled treatment centers, labs and group homes where unknowing addicts, exploited for insurance money, fall deeper into addiction.

Hundreds of sober homes — some reputable, many of them fraud mills and flop houses for drug users — sprawl across Delray Beach and several surrounding cities. No one knows exactly how many exist because they do not require certification, only city approval if they want to house more than three unrelated people. Hoping for a fresh start, thousands of young addicts from outside Florida wind up here in places that benefit from relapse rather than the recovery they advertise.

…the proliferation of fraudulent sober homes was in part also the result of two well-intentioned federal laws. First came a 2008 law that gave addicts more generous insurance benefits; then the Affordable Care Act, which permits adults under 26 to use their parents’ insurance, requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and allows for multiple drug relapses.

The result was a whole new category of young addicts with access to insurance benefits. This gave rise to a new class of abusive operator, as painstakingly chronicled in The Palm Beach Post: the corrupt sober house owner. Many drug treatment centers — which also treated inpatients — started paying sober-home owners “bonuses” from insurance money and fees for referring outpatients to their centers while they underwent therapy, according to law enforcement, a grand jury report and court records.

Sober homes, which are not covered by insurance, can get thousands of dollars a month for each recovering addict, in large part from treatment providers, law enforcement and city officials said. Much of it goes into the owners’ pockets. But it is also used to pay rent so patients can live free and to provide perks that lure patients from other sober houses: manicures, mopeds, gym memberships and, worst of all, drugs. Relapses are welcome because they restart the benefits clock.

To increase profits, many treatment centers and labs overbill insurance companies for unnecessary tests, including of urine, blood and DNA. Some have billed insurance companies thousands of dollars for a urine test screen. Patients often unnecessarily undergo multiple urine tests a week.

Ah, glorious compassion! So those of us who managed to not break laws and cripple ourselves while doing so get to pay for not only the self-inflicted problems of those who did, but also get to enrich  the scam-artists who live off of their addictions, protected by compassionate, expensive insurance guarantees that require no personal responsibility or accountability. Meanwhile, “federal disability and housing anti-discrimination laws offer strong protections to recovering addicts who live in them.”

This is the better “treatment” alternative to the “war on drugs” that the compassionate people harangued us about for decades. Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Quotes

Ethics Observations On The Second Democratic Candidates Debate, Part 2 of 2

Dems three

The transcript is here.

Part I is here.

6. Sooner or later, a Democrat is going to have to answer a question about the “safe places,” microaggressions,” college campus meltdown that is, I think, just gathering momentum, and choose between alienating the young black base that elected Barack Obama, or horrifying people who believe in free speech and thought, presumably a few iconoclast Democrats and a lot of independents. Significantly, CBS didn’t ask Sen. Sanders that question.

Well, it’s significant if you  believe that CBS is protecting the Democrats. As we saw in Bernie’s coddling of Black Lives Matter, and know from the fact that he’s a Marxist at heart, he doesn’t really expect to be nominated and has no spine (see Part I), Sanders was a good bet to fully endorse the anti-free speech position taken by the students at Yale, Amherst and Mizzou. That would have put the whole Party, which right now is Hillary, on the spot. Surely CBS would never do that. The alternative is to believe that last night’s journalists were inept.

Only Hillary was asked the question, and she ducked it with something akin to what Olson Johnson called “authentic frontier gibberish”:

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, you told some Black Lives Matter activists recently that there’s a difference between rhetoric in activism and what you were trying to do, was — get laws passed that would help what they were pushing for. But recently, at the University of Missouri, that activism was very, very effective. So would you suggest that kind of activism take place at other universities across the country?

CLINTON: Well, John, I come from the ’60s, a long time ago. There was a lot of activism on campus — Civil Rights activism, antiwar activism, women’s rights activism — and I do appreciate the way young people are standing up and speaking out. Obviously, I believe that on a college campus, there should be enough respect so people hear each other. But what happened at the university there, what’s happening at other universities, I think reflects the deep sense of, you know, concern, even despair that so many young people, particularly of color, have…You know, I recently met with a group of mothers who lost their children to either killings by police or random killings in their neighborhoods, and hearing their stories was so incredibly, profoundly heartbreaking. Each one of them, you know, described their child, had a picture. You know, the mother of the young man with his friends in the car who was playing loud music and, you know, some older white man pulled out a gun and shot him because they wouldn’t turn the radio down.Or a young woman who had been performing at President Obama’s second inauguration coming home, absolutely stellar young woman, hanging out with her friends in a park getting shot by a gang member.And, of course, I met the mothers of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and so many of them who have lost their children.So, your original question is the right question. And it’s not just a question for parents and grandparents to answer. It’s really a question for all of us to answer, every single one of our children deserves the chance to live up to his or her god-given potential. And that’s what we need to be doing to the best of our ability in our country.

DICKERSON: All right, over to Kevin Cooney.

Hilarious.

Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, Race, U.S. Society

Hand-Out Ethics: Buying Junk Food With Food Stamps, Or A Leap Down The Slippery Slope?

Maybe I got something out of law school after all.

11-nanny stateWhen I read opinion columnist Charles Lane’s lament that food stamp regulations didn’t limit the kinds of nourishment that could be bought by them to things Mrs. Obama would approve of, my mind flew back many decades to a memorable Contracts class in my first year of law school. The late Professor Richard Alan Gordon was thundering in his most stentorian tones—and boy, did he have stentorian tones!— about the class reaction to a case we had just discussed involving a Washington, D.C. family on welfare that had gotten itself in legal trouble by purchasing a stereo system on credit. One poor student was the target of the verbal barrage, having just opined that the family should have spent its government assistance on necessities like food, and not entertainment.

“And who are you, Mr. Anderson, to make the determination of what is a “necessity” for a fellow citizen? Shall the family in question not be permitted to feed its soul, as well as its gut? Is it the attitude role of the government to assume that accepting its assistance in dire circumstances involves one’s surrender of the basic human rights of choice, preference, taste and self-determination?”

I miss Dick Gordon, who became a cherished friend (and a terrific Learned Judge in “Trial by Jury”), and I miss the scathing letter he would have written to Charles Lane. In his column, Lane writes:

“The point is to increase the amount of real nutrition per taxpayer dollar. The counterargument is that it’s not fair to restrict poor people’s grocery choices. You hear this a lot from the food and beverage industry, for which SNAP has grown into a significant subsidy. Sorry, I don’t get it — morally or pragmatically. Of course the federal government should be able to leverage its purchasing power for socially beneficial purposes. If you take Uncle Sam’s help, you play by his rules. I repeat: This is a nutrition program, or so the taxpayers who fund it are told. It should nourish.”

“If you take Uncle Sam’s help, you play by his rules.” This is the crux of Lane’s argument, Mr. Anderson’s, and all the Nanny State advocates who cheer on Mayor Bloomberg’s assault on personal freedom. Ethically, there are strong arguments in all directions: Continue reading

40 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

The More Incompetent Schools Are, The More Power They Want: Now, the Food Police

Guess who works for the Chicago school system!

The Chicago Tribune reports that several Chicago schools prohibit families from packing lunches from home for their children.

“A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said she could not say how many schools prohibit packed lunches and that decision is left to the judgment of the principals. ‘While there is no formal policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual school environments,’ Monique Bond wrote in an email. ‘In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom.'” Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Education, Family, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, U.S. Society