Mo’ government, mo’ problems

For years, federal, state and local governments have been passing crazy regulations that drive up the cost of doing business, without allocating any public funds to pay for the costly measures required. These rules and regulations are called “unfunded government mandates,” and you hear businessmen complain about them all the time. If the government would just get out of their hair plugs and let them work, everyone would be better off. For example:

Important-sounding statisticians estimate that, over the last 30 years, developers could have saved an estimated $6 billion in construction costs if they weren’t required to build expensive yet little-used fire escapes on apartment buildings.

Out-of-control government bureaucracy requires almost every community to build huge, ugly things called “sewage treatment plants” which rarely attract visitors, yet they must remain open even on Sundays and public holidays.

The estimated loss of income to tavern owners by the odious government regulation prohibiting the sale of liquor to minors is said to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

As if city councils don’t have better things to do, many of them now require landlords to install smoke detectors in rental apartments, driving up the cost for owners. The money wasted on this needless expense would no doubt have been used to lower rents. Remember, the best smoke detector on the market is the human lung.

More than 1,200 towns across this grand republic have passed laws that prohibit the owners of nightclubs and sports arenas from padlocking their fire exits, forcing the owners to hire expensive, minimum-wage security guards to keep non-paying fans from sneaking in. In many cities this has driven up the cost of watching a football game to more than a hundred bones per person!

In all 50 states, namby-pamby do-gooders have forced up the cost of medicine by requiring that physicians be “licensed” to practice. No license is required in Darfur, and their medical costs are estimated to be almost a thousand times less expensive than our own.

Industry experts say the airlines could save almost two billion dollars a year if they never had to inspect and maintain their planes, as knobby-kneed FAA pencil-pushers require them to.

Our “Big Brother” federal government forces meat processors to spend millions of dollars a year on inspections, making them throw away or recall any spoiled, rotten or E. coli-contaminated meat, even though most people can’t even taste the difference. This needless expense is passed along to you, the meat-buying, budget-conscious consumer.

In all 50 states, anti-business wackadoodles have gotten ludicrous zoning laws passed, prohibiting the building of rendering plants and gunpowder factories in residential neighborhoods. These are blatant infringements of the rights of property owners to use their land any way they see fit, be it to boil hog fat or brew exciting high explosives.

In their micromanaging tradition, the federal government actually requires blade guards on electric table saws and insists that people using them wear safety glasses. Who has to pay for all these needless, intrusive regulations? You, the electric-saw-buying, possibly glass-eyed consumer!

Know-nothing, desk-bound Washington bureaucrats are trying to write laws that prevent wealthy ranchers from grazing on federal land at rock-bottom prices. Federal land is your land, folks. If you want to rent it to rich people for one-third the going rate, that’s your business, not Uncle Sam’s.

Why are most luxury cruise liners registered in countries like Panama instead of America? Because frivolous U.S. maritime regulations, written by people who have never owned a cruise line, require them to have functional life boats and adequate insurance, and to meet minimum sanitary food-handling standards.

Isn’t that why our fathers fought in World War II and Vietnam, to help CEOs make more money? Which is why so many companies are moving their businesses to countries where child labor and prostitution are legal – because they’re patriots.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at

Copyright 2010, United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

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