The Invisible Hand of the Market Is Covered in Pee

[Content Note: Germs and bacteria.]

The Republicans really hate science. And not being sick.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) argued this week that restaurants should be able to "opt out" of health department regulations that require employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom.

..."I was having this discussion with someone, and we were at a Starbucks in my district, and we were talking about certain regulations where I felt like maybe you should allow businesses to opt out," Tillis recalled. "Let an industry or business opt out as long as they indicate through proper disclosure, through advertising, through employment, literature, whatever else. There’s this level of regulations that maybe they're on the books, but maybe you can make a market-based decision as to whether or not they should apply to you."

..."I don't have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as the post a sign that says 'We don't require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restrooms.' The market will take care of that."
I don't even know, y'all.

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.

Senator Tillis knows this. He just doesn't care.

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