Do you even laissez faire?

A Republican senator from North Carolina is hacked off about all these god damn pesky government regulations, like say for instance making restaurants tell their workers to wash their hands after using the toilet. Let the market deal with that!

“Let them decide” such issues, the newly elected lawmaker said.

His argument was that restaurants which did not require workers to wash their hands would quickly go out of business.

Definitely! Because all the customers would know the workers were not washing their hands, so they would just stop going to those restaurants. How would they know? Um…the magic of the market?

No no wait, the restaurants would tell them. Yeah that’s it!

He suggested that restaurants that did not require hand washing would have to alert customers with prominently displayed signs…

Brilliant! Don’t mandate signs telling the workers to wash their hands – mandate signs telling the customers the workers aren’t required to wash their hands. That’s doing away with pesky government sign-posting and no mistake.

The comments come as some Republican presidential hopefuls have questioned vaccine regulations amid a measles outbreak.

At least two hopefuls have said parents are justified in sometimes having their children avoid vaccinations generally required for attending school.

Freedom freedom FREEDOM.


  1. iknklast says

    We have the freedom to get sick. And if we exercise that freedom without having health insurance because our employer doesn’t provide it and we can’t afford it, well, that was our choice, right? We could have gotten a job with benefits if only we’d been willing to work harder to compete in the marketplace.

    These people are going to put the Onion out of business.

  2. John Horstman says

    As you allude, the requirement for a sign is just a different regulation, not actually any less regulation. Why not simply mandate the only acceptable behavior instead of mandating that you must document your unacceptable behavior?

    I’d love to give these yahoos (and only these yahoos) the government they claim to want, becasue they would either quickly recognize that it’s terrible and stop advocating for their awful ideology or they would die of e.g. dysentery, and either way we wouldn’t have categorically-anti-government ideologues any more. Sadly, they insist on trying to to drag all of the rest of us off the cliff with them. :-/

  3. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    I don’t get it. They’re still free to stir their coffee with a turd when they’re at home, just not when providing services to society.

    And regarding the signs, first they have a sign that says employees aren’t required to wash hands, then a sign that they employ child workers, then a sign saying they reserve the right to physically abuse staff, then a sign that says they only hire white people, etc., etc. They won’t have any room to put a menu. Plus, you’ll need to send regulators around to make sure they have signs for all the no-brainers they have decided to opt out of. That seems like a lot more work. At least the signage industry would be happy.

    Re vaccines: I’m hesitant to say that people shouldn’t have the option to opt-out (for non-medical reasons) of vaccines, but that maybe anyone who chooses to do this should be confined to their house.

  4. RJW says

    The senator is correct, the market would function as economic theory suggests, so after a few deaths, most likely children, customers would respond to market signals and avoid the non-sanitary restaurants. In response to the fall in the number of customers, ie ‘market signals’, the non-hand washing restaurants would require their employes to wash their hands. See the market works, optimum efficiency is achieved, no interference from the government is required- -Economics 101.

  5. says

    But how would the customers know which were the non-sanitary restaurants? Hah? Hah?

    Or are you assuming the “post signs saying the workers don’t wash their hands” law has passed?

  6. says

    It’s classism, pure and simple.

    To quote Melissa McEwan at Shakesville:

    I mean, the thing is, we already know what happens when deregulation creates a two-tiered market the primary division of which centers around cleanliness and health: People who can afford it get the good stuff, and people who can’t get the crap. It’s true whether we’re talking about foodservice or medical care or clean drinking water.

    Senator Tillis wants to pretend that “the market” drives substandard foodservice (or any industry) out of business altogether, but that’s not how it works. What happens is that the places who do hang a “we wash our hands!” sign on the door (or whatever more realistic equivalent than Tillis’ grody example) get to charge a premium, and the places that don’t get to stay in business, and suddenly they’re the only place poor people can afford anymore.

  7. RJW says

    @5 , Ophelia,

    Yes, I am assuming that the law was in effect, however I’m not sure that signs would be required under neoliberal economic theory anyway, caveat emptor would apply, in other words the ‘proof of the pudding is in the eating’, and the consequent, perhaps fatal, illness. Would customers be entitled to sue in this laissez-faire paradise? Perhaps lawyers would lose all their ‘nice little earners’. One essential fact that all students of economics learn is, never let reality interfere with the development of self-serving theories.

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