Big Government is always presented to us as a wise and intelligent guardian, better able to handle our affairs than we could manage through voluntary action. In reality, Big Government is a $4 trillion neurotic hot mess. It falls to pieces and turns into a foaming-at-the-mouth rabid animal when 17 percent of it gets temporarily “shut down.” Uncle Sam’s huge belly prevents him from seeing his toes; one of the major causes of wasteful government spending is the widespread duplication of functions and services, often by departments unaware of each others’ existence. Different agencies often act at cross-purposes with each other.
For a relatively minor but remarkably revealing example of the latter, look at the story of the U.S. Postal Service destroying an entire run of stamps “after receiving concerns from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition over alleged “unsafe” acts depicted on three of the stamps.”
What were these unsafe activities? Binge drinking? Smoking? Juggling machetes while skydiving? Attempting to purchase an attractive health insurance plan without the firm guidance of government “navigators?”
No, the stamps were printed to honor First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” vanity project for youthful physical fitness – which, unlike say death benefits for fallen military veterans or the Amber Alert website for finding missing children, was deemed “essential” government spending and has not yet been threatened by the “shutdown.” The three Stamps of Doom depicted “a cannonball dive, skateboarding without kneepads and a headstand without a helmet,” according to the Postal Blog.
Did you know your child was required to don a helmet before performing a headstand? Well, now you do. And if you’re going to let them climb on a skateboard without kneepads, you might as well order up a kid-sized coffin and start making funeral arrangements.
The USPS apparently also looked darkly upon stamps showing “a batter without a batting helmet, a girl balancing on a slippery rock, and a soccer player without kneepads or shin pads,” but they weren’t horrifying enough to trigger the kill order. I can’t understand why the environmental movement hasn’t gotten to work against the slippery-rock menace yet. They’re probably slippery because of global warming, you know.
Allowing your child to gain access to a stamp that pictures a happy kid performing a cannonball dive is essentially like giving them a page from the Necronomicon to lick and press onto that “How I Spent My Summer” letter to Grandma, so the entire run had to be annihilated. The funniest part is that we’ve got stamps made in honor of the First Lady’s pet project destroyed due to concerns from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. I can just imagine the conversation in the White House tonight: “Michelle, I got a disturbing email from my fitness council today. In this Let’s Move thing you’re doing, you aren’t encouraging kids to perform handstands without safety helmets, are you?”