Victims of government

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has posted what looks to be the first in a series called “Victims of Government.”  He’s actively soliciting stories of regulatory abuse at that link.

The flagship victim is an Illinois property owner named Steve Lanthrop, whose ordeal in the maze of blind government regulation and inter-agency stonewalling rivals the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur.  At least Theseus got to fight the Minotaur in the end.  After almost 25 years of struggle against various agencies, Lanthrop is still lost in the maze.  And it all began when he did something those federal agencies wanted him to do, something that indisputably benefited his community and cost him a fortune: he bought the unsightly neighborhood dump, and converted it into an appealing lake, which saved the area from flooding.  This got him persecuted, to the point of utter ruin, for the novel crime of ruining a “wetland” by making it more wet.

Senator Johnson, along with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO),  has written the Army Corps of Engineers on Lathrop’s behalf.  Hopefully he’ll be able to bring the impoverished landowner some relief.

We need to hear more stories like this.  Are you paying attention, Republican message consultants?  This is the kind of thing that gets to even the lowest-information voter.  This is the sort of red-tape spiderweb everyone dreads stumbling into.  This is the sort of thing your government spends vast amounts of money on: employing a largely unseen army of bureaucrats and lawyers to spring traps on well-meaning people who make honest efforts to play by the rules, while responding to even the tiniest spending cut proposal by lining up cops and firefighters for pink-slipping.