by Lynn Costello
We seldom behold truth from government but rather political speak or spin; on the other hand we often suffer consequences, particularly those regarded as unintended. While motivated to improve the health and safety of the people, government spits out rules and regulations as though it were a gumball machine. In 2011 alone, the legislature and regulatory agencies created 4,257 new regulations at a cost to business of $1.75 trillion and 8.8 B hours for compliance.
This is offensive on its own, but worse are those “unseen” consequences talked about in Frederic Bastiat’s “That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen.”
Who would have thought that there would be a black market for toilets and yet there was a few years back when regulation outlawed the old to bring in the new. The intent of course was to save water, but the reality was to flush twice. Even so, in 2011 the U.S. Department of Energy began preparations for tightening the water efficiency standards on urinals. They might want to note that Palm Beach County, Florida, schools installed waterless urinals a few years ago. Officials said the urinals were better for the environment and should save about $100 per urinal each year in water costs. But the pipes behind the urinals in at least two high schools corroded, causing urine to leak into the walls and onto the floors. Repairing the damage and replacing all of the urinals with urinals that flush will cost about $500,000.
We’re all aware that our favorite light bulb will soon be considered contraband. We are now being forced to buy the government recommended bulbs bringing toxins into our homes and requiring complicated clean up and disposal procedures. The intent of course is to save energy. It won’t be too long before those toxic bulbs are found in landfills requiring the government to then impose garbage inspectors to search all garbage prior to disposal.
Wind power has been subsidized since 1992 with the Federal Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit. A side effect is the killing of thousands of birds including eagles. This has resulted in a first of its kind permit under the 1940 legislation protecting bald or golden eagles allowing West Butte Wind Power (Oregon’s Deschutes and Crook counties) to kill three protected golden eagles over five years. In addition, over 14,000 wind turbines have been abandoned mostly in Hawaii and California leaving industrial junk behind which no doubt the taxpayers will pay to clean up.
Electric cars are being heavily subsidized to encourage their use and to save energy. The State of Washington will now tax owners of these vehicles $100 annually to make up for the gas tax they are not paying.
The government regulates with the intent of helping us and improve our quality of life, but then must regulate more to fix those “unintended consequences.” Thus is government, growing and feeding upon itself until all else has been devoured. We must slay this dragon!!