Every now and then a federal official will say something that makes one wonder if he and his colleagues even live on the same planet as other Americans. Consider the government civil-rights lawyer who recently spoke out in support of the District of Columbia's efforts to ban shoeshine stands from the city's streets.

The shoeshine business is "demeaning," the lawyer told a local entrepreneur who wants to launch a chain of shoeshine stands that would specialize in hiring the homeless. He suggested that the entrepreneur go on welfare instead so that "he could at least keep his dignity."How many federal employees, one wonders, consider it more dignified to sponge off the taxpayers than to do an honest day's work? How many welfare recipients have made just that choice?