I’ve eaten at more fast food establishments than I can count. Some are quality and some are not.
One of my favorites is Chick-Fil-A. Famous for their spelling-impaired cows, Chick-Fil-A has made a name for themselves by selling an amazing number of menu items that feature chicken. You can get it grilled or breaded and fried; patty, strips, or nuggets; on a bun, in a wrap, in a salad, or by itself. They even do chicken for breakfast! Chick-Fil-A basically does one main thing (with a variety of smaller things in the side) and does it well.
In-N-Out Burger is another favorite of mine. This west coast establishment also has a “do one thing, do it well” philosophy. Where some fast food joints have over twenty combos, In-N-Out has three. (Of course there is also their “not-so-secret secret menu,” but that is just a re-arrangement of existing menu ingredients.) Missing is the bewildering array found at most fast food restaurants – there is a beautiful simplicity to their menu. I’ve watched employees in so many eateries have to look up seldom-ordered menu options. In my own (brief and fruitless) fast food experience, I had to look up things as well. At the well-oiled machine that is In-N-Out, I have never seen an employee bewildered at what something is. Their kitchen is open, so customers can see what is going on inside. A large window in the drive-through ensures that customers there can see in as well. Again, we see an eatery that does one thing, and does it well.
Both of these culinary delights are quite popular despite not having the bewildering menu array we have come to expect from fast food restaurants. I would assert that the simplicity of their menus is a leading contributor to the quality that customers appreciate in their products.
Now, contrast that with our government. Over the past century or so, the size and scope of our federal government has grown considerably, as have those of the states. Government is doing for us many things that we ought to be doing for ourselves. As a result, the bureaucratic intrusion in our daily lives has grown crippling to our liberty and the economy. Taxes, permits, fees, regulations, paperwork… the list grows rather than shrinks.
In an attempt to “straw man” the concerns of conservatives, tea party activists, and others; those on the left have often accused us of wanting no government or even being anti-government. This is not at all what we want. We want what our Constitution mandates: a government limited to a few specific areas. Within those areas, the federal government has tremendous power and authority. Outside those, it has little to none.
By seeking to do everything and taking authority away from the states, the people, private enterprise, private charity, and private organizations the federal government has bloated itself beyond reason. This is not just an argument against high taxes or high spending. The very fact that the government is trying to do things that is not designed to do, has no constitutional authority to do, and is not effective at doing is causing it to fail at it all.
I would rather have the “lean machine” government that was both effective and respectful of the Constitution and the people. Eateries such as Chick-Fil-A and In-N-Out Burger are able to focus on quality through their relatively simple menus. The government would do well to learn from their “do one thing, do it well” philosophy.
Hindenblog asserts that President Obama’s attempts to straw man fans of limited government opens the door for us to talk to others about just what limited government is all about.