Government in the United States, both federal and local, has enacted laws and regulations that drag down the economy and restrict individual liberty. Some regulations are so broad that they govern entire segments of the economy, while others tell us what we can and cannot do in our own homes. As President Reagan once said, “Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.” Here are the Top 10 Most Egregious Government Regulations:
1. ObamaCare overkill: If you think the 2,000-plus-page ObamaCare law is a travesty, wait until you see the regulations it spawned. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is beginning to release regulations based on the health care legislation passed last year. One section on Medicare took up six pages in the original law, yet HHS turned that into 429 pages of new regulations. At that rate, there will be more than a hundred thousand pages of regulations in place for doctors to consider before seeing a patient.
2. EPA’s carbon dioxide fixation: Talk about job-killing regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to regulate carbon dioxide emissions in order to combat “climate change” will raise the cost of energy. Forget about creating jobs. The EPA’s regulations will add a new burden on business, increase the cost of material for the construction industry, and hit consumer in the pocketbook, dampening the outlook for economic growth.
3. Lightbulb ban: Unless Congress overturns a 2007 law, the incandescent lightbulb will be phased out in 2012, and fluorescent bulbs will be the only choice for consumers. Instead of being able to buy a 39-cent bulb, Americans will be forced to pay $6 for the energy-efficient alternative, with its harsh bright light. Do we really need Washington nanny-state legislators to decide what is “best” for us, right down to how we light our own homes?
4. TSA abuse: Whoever is writing the regulations for the Transportation Security Administration needs to lighten up. TSA officials think they are making the skies safe by patting down infants and grandmothers in wheelchairs, while giving travelers the option of being subjected to harmful radiation or on the receiving end of sexual abuse. There are plenty of other ways to ensure safety, like profiling young to middle-age male travelers from the Middle East.
5. Union favors: As payback to his Big Labor support, President Obama signed an executive order in February 2009 that tells federal agencies to require “Project Labor Agreements” on federal construction projects, meaning higher labor costs as contractors are forced to use union workers. Now the National Labor Relations Board is seeking to prevent Boeing from building a plant in South Carolina because it is a right-to-work state. By “protecting” workers, fewer jobs are created. Is that what we want?
6. Food crackdown: Federal regulators are tightening regulations on food manufacturers in order to combat childhood obesity. But as usual, the regulators are going overboard, cracking down on breakfast cereal, Girl Scout cookies, and all kinds of snack foods, including nuts, bagels and fruit juice. According to HUMAN EVENTS’ Audrey Hudson, the food industry says the government is imposing “multibillions of dollars” of changes, with no evidence it will do anything to help kids stay healthy.
7. Outside smoking ban: The city of New York has made it illegal to smoke in all parks, on beaches, and in pedestrian plazas. This includes, you’re hearing right, a smoke-free Times Square. That will be 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches that city officials will have to monitor in case someone lights up. Don’t New York’s Finest have anything better to do?
8. Trash violations: Beware of what you put in the trash, at least in New York City. The city’s Sanitation Department is enforcing a rule that says trash from households or businesses cannot be thrown in receptacles on the street meant for pedestrians. But do the workers really need to ticket elderly residents and fine them $100 for throwing their used newspapers into the trash cans?
9. Illegal garden: Julie Bass decided to grow some vegetables in her front yard because the price of organic food was on the rise. Now, she has been hit with a misdemeanor charge and is facing three months in jail, because Oak Park, Mich., says her garden violated the city code, which requires that front yards consist of “suitable, live, plant material.” The city says vegetables aren’t “suitable” for a front yard and are going to court to prove their point. Now that’s a great use of taxpayer resources.
10. Multicultural doll mandate: The Colorado Department of Human Services is proposing new rules to require all day care centers in the state to have dolls available that represent the three different races. The guideline is part of a 98-page document that sets new rules for child care that include what kids can drink, how long they can watch TV, and mandates for field trips and sunscreen use. One wonders how the state, which has been working on the measure since 2006, will go about enforcing the law.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter