Source: John F. Di Leo

Depending on how it’s prepared, asparagus provides — at a minimum — iron, vitamins C, and B-6, potassium, fiber, and a trace of magnesium and calcium as well. But asparagus can be tricky to prepare, and it can be expensive. So, what is a health-conscious family to do?

Well, let’s say the government decided to step in. A president might say, on some random Monday, “I hereby declare that effective this coming Saturday, every American person — male, female, and gender-bewildered — is entitled to eight free servings of asparagus every month.”

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But… how to accomplish it? We have over 330 million people in America (tens of millions more if you count illegal aliens and voter registrations); that’s a heck of a job. The government certainly doesn’t have the facilities to provide such a service.

No problem, says the president, we will just mandate that restaurants, cafeterias, and fast-food places take care of providing it.

The government gets the credit for making some good thing easily available to everyone, without bearing any of the obligations either to handle the logistics of the plan or to pay for it.

Sounds like a win-win for the shortsighted statist, doesn’t it?

Those financial and logistical problems, however, don’t disappear just because the government has saddled someone else with their burden. The problems are still there, they have just been shifted.

Asparagus is an expensive vegetable. None of the providers identified here have budgeted for the inclusion of free asparagus with their meals.  They will either have to raise their regular prices for everything else, or cut their costs by cutting out something else that they do, some other service they provide, or by reducing staff, locations, and employee salaries.

All restaurants, cafeterias, and fast-food places will suffer lower profits, which means that everyone who has invested in them, as tuition-paying or taxpaying students or restaurant customers, or as owners or stockholders, or as landlords depending on these tenants for rent, is going to suffer this financial loss.

Besides… There aren’t enough asparagus producers in the USA, or even in the world, to suddenly provide eight free servings of asparagus to all Americans every month. There just isn’t enough asparagus out there. And realistically… there will never be.

If the government had dreamed up this idea, it would be laughed off the headlines as utterly idiotic.

Fortunately, this hasn’t happened. Nobody has proposed it, and I’m sure nobody will.

On Monday, January 10, however, Joe Biden announced the exact same idea for at-home COVID tests.

Joe Biden unilaterally declared that everyone will get up to eight free at-home COVID tests per month, to be covered at no additional charge by insurance companies.

At least with asparagus, we can be certain of its value; COVID tests are notoriously unreliable, and in most cases, unnecessary.  And not everyone wants a bunch of COVID tests (but then again, not everyone wants asparagus either. Go figure.)

But, other than that, the problems match up. We are talking about the government creating a new mandate that is actually impossible to either deliver or afford.

Both private insurers and government health insurance programs are funded through carefully researched analysis of negotiated costs and actuarial expectations of usage. No matter whether we are talking about your employer-arranged Blue Cross card or your taxpayer-funded Medicare or Medicaid program, the insurance company has to plan for these costs, and negotiate contracts with direct providers (hospitals, doctors, clinics, pharmacies) — in advance — in order to offer any benefit.

What the Biden-Harris regime did this week was to create a huge new tax out of the blue (any mandate, after all, is just a tax in disguise).  

They didn’t acknowledge the fact that this quantity of tests is unavailable. They didn’t provide for the cost; they didn’t give the providers, public or private, a chance to research this deliverable and negotiate with manufacturers or deliverers first to see what might be achievable. The Biden-Harris regime simply didn’t think it through at all.

And, for the shrinking percentage of our population who care about the law, it’s worth noting that, in addition to being impossible, this order is completely unconstitutional.

The Biden-Harris regime has been rightly called out, for months, for the fact that they keep mandating testing, without recognizing that such tests are unavailable. This latest mandate is simply a way to attempt to transfer this responsibility, and therefore to transfer the eventual blame for failure, away from the Biden-Harris regime, onto other parties who are completely innocent.

One of the most notable moments in recent political history was during the Clinton administration, when Hillary Clinton — then in charge of a healthcare takeover attempt that fortunately crashed and burned — was called out on the fact that many, or even most, employers simply could not afford to offer the incredibly expensive perk that she was proposing to mandate. Her response was telling: “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized business!”

We thought at the time that this was just an indicator of how arrogant and clueless Hillary Clinton was.

What we have since learned is that the entire Democratic Party now shares those two traits.

The Biden-Harris regime has grown tired of failing, or at least, of being called out on its failure. Instead of trying to stop failing, the Biden-Harris regime is now working around the clock to spread failure across every sector of the economy, so they don’t stand out anymore.

It is terrifying to consider that we are only, barely, one year into this ongoing four-year nightmare.