Friday, August 6, 2010

I Wonder Why People Mistrust the Government?

Maybe because some governments (Multnomah county, Oregon) threaten 7 year-old girls with a $500 dollar fine for running a lemonade stand without the proper permit.

Darn kids, always flouting regulations, that's what's wrong with young people today . . .

But, you say, "the county apologized, and no real harm done, right?" (except for fixing permanently in that girl's mind a terrifying first impression of government - oh, wait, that's not harm, sorry). Yes, this was a mere county government worker just acting "by the book." It was easily cleared up by Jeff Cogen, chairman of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

(By the way, when you need a board to manage all your commissioners, doesn't that tell you something?)

But this was one smallish county in a meduim sized metro area in a smallish state. Very few levels between the health department employee and Mr. Cogen. Imagine the same quick corrective action happening in LA county, or New York City . . . yeah, I can't either.

County regulations are simple when compared with State regulations, and nothing compared to the massive and ever-expanding river of regulations continually spewing from Federal agencies.

The photo above is of titles 12 to 26 out of 50 titles of the Code of Federal Regulations. Yes, that's only about one fourth of the Federal Regulations out there - and this is before agencies start creating regulations for "Health Care Reform." (the bill itself was 2000 pages, but it left most of the rule-making to Federal agencies. 2000 pages? That's nothing compared to the regulations that will come out of it - wait and see).

This site gives some scope to the problem:

According to the Office of the Federal Register, in 1998, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the official listing of all regulations in effect, contained a total of 134,723 pages in 201 volumes that claimed 19 feet of shelf space. [Note: 10% or 13,458 pages are IRS regulations alone]. In 1970, the CFR totaled only 54,834 pages.

The General Accountability Office (GAO) reports that in the four fiscal years from 1996 to 1999, a total of 15,286 new federal regulations went into effect. Of these, 222 were classified as "major" rules, each one having an annual effect on the economy of at least $100 million.

134,723 pages?!?! A person could literally be crushed by the weight of Federal regulations, ha ha . . . . sorry bad joke. But seriously, if you could read 1 page a minute, 24 hours a day, you'd finish reading it in a little over 93 days.

There are entire paid publications dedicated entirely to informing industry attorneys that a single Federal agency is going to change regulations. There are currently about 14,800 notices, rules, or proposed rules open for comment on According to that site, "On average, federal agencies and departments issue nearly 8,000 regulations per year." (Double what they issued in 1996 - 1999).

But why fear the government? Those 134,723 pages of regulations (plus 8000 new regulations per year) plus all the state and local regulations would never affect the average person, would they?

Lets ask the little girl from Oregon . . .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Independence Day

"All honor to Jefferson--to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re- appearing tyranny and oppression."

-- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 6, 2010

And the Award for the "Most Appropriately Named Head of State" goes to . . .

. . . Nigeria's new president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Given that Nigeria faces a crumbling energy infrastructure, epidemic corruption, and Muslim-Christian division,

And given that he is a Christian taking over for a popular Muslim president who was elected in the first peaceful electoral transition in Nigeria since independence,

And given that he and his cabinet are accused of using the former president's illness as a political tool to seize control . . .

I think we can all join in wishing Mr. Jonathan Goodluck

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Can Anyone Still Take the U.N. Seriously?

No, it is not April Fools Day, and this story is not a joke.

Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged "immodest."

Just days after Iran abandoned a high-profile bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, it began a covert campaign to claim a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women, which is "dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women," according to its website.

Apparently this move was unopposed by everyone, including the United States. Nice job standing up for human rights.