How Government Wrecked The Gas Can

Posted: December 9, 2013 by ShortTimer in Economic freedom, Government, Unintended Consequences

An excellent piece from Jeffrey Tucker at the Laissez Faire Club (from a year or so ago):

…Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice.

It’s like the barbarian invasions that wrecked Rome, taking away the gains we’ve made in bettering our lives. It’s the bureaucrats’ way of reminding market producers and consumers who is in charge.

Surely, the gas can is protected. It’s just a can, for goodness sake. Yet he was right. This one doesn’t have a vent. Who would make a can without a vent unless it was done under duress? After all, everyone knows to vent anything that pours. Otherwise, it doesn’t pour right and is likely to spill.

It took one quick search. The whole trend began in (wait for it) California. Regulations began in 2000, with the idea of preventing spillage. The notion spread and was picked up by the EPA, which is always looking for new and innovative ways to spread as much human misery as possible.

An ominous regulatory announcement from the EPA came in 2007: “Starting with containers manufactured in 2009… it is expected that the new cans will be built with a simple and inexpensive permeation barrier and new spouts that close automatically.”

The government never said “no vents.” It abolished them de facto with new standards that every state had to adopt by 2009. So for the last three years, you have not been able to buy gas cans that work properly. They are not permitted to have a separate vent. The top has to close automatically. There are other silly things now, too, but the biggest problem is that they do not do well what cans are supposed to do.

This was news to him, because he had to use a gas can.  It’s not news to people who’ve been using them for a while.  There are a lot of folks already explaining workarounds.

The first minute talks about the differences between new and old gas cans, then explains a workaround.

Toilets have been wrecked for over a decade.

Three years ago we moved into our newly built home in Grand Blanc, Michigan. The whole family was excited.

While all new houses have some problems, I was not expecting the toilets to be among them. How could this be? After all, these toilets were brand new. As it turns out, that was precisely the reason they weren’t working. You see, I am the not-so-proud owner of three federally mandated environment-friendly, but consumer-unfriendly toilets. The primitive 3.5-gallon toilet, which worked, was outlawed by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1992 in favor of the politically correct 1.6-gallon toilet, which doesn’t work.

Pulling the lever on the 1.6-gallon toilet has become an anxious game of chance for all members of the family. Will it work as advertised? Will it require two or more flushes to get the job done? Will it clog up? Or, heaven forbid, will it overflow? Contrary to the assurances of consumer groups, environmentalists, and politicians, these new toilets are still not working as advertised. For the longest time my youngest daughter would not flush the government toilet for fear that it would overflow.

What was the end result of the government’s demand for 1.6 gallon toilets that “save water”?  People flush more.  A lot more.  The rule for the last decade or so, excepting those super loud jet pressure toilets, has been “one splash, one flush”.  They’re just built not to work, because some idiot in government decided it would be wonderful to “save” water by eliminating your freedom to choose.

What’s wrong with this scenario? Why don’t I have the right to choose? Isn’t this pro-choice America? If I want to buy a gas-guzzling environmentally unfriendly sport utility vehicle (SUV), that is—as of this writing—my choice. I can water my lawn all day and wash my car in the driveway. However, because of this government decree I am not allowed to choose a 3.5-gallon toilet. I am forced to buy a toilet that, in theory, saves 1.9 gallons of water per flush (this assumes no double or triple flushing) and saves me $50 per year, again in theory. For peace of mind, I am willing to forgo the mythical $50 savings. Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice.

What’s going on here? While the government says it will not dictate what we can or cannot do in the bedroom, the same is not true for the bathroom. Here, intrusive laws are permissible. Manufacturers who are caught selling or distributing toilets that work will be fined $100 (per toilet). In addition, new homes, or older homes with remodeled bathrooms, will not be able to pass inspection if any working toilets are found on the premises.

As a reminder, the same people who mandated toilets that don’t work are now running your health care.  More unaccountable bureaucrats who literally do not know shit, and ruin everything they touch.

It would almost be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

sigh charlie brown

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