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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11375/the-relentless-misery-of-1-6-gallons/

The Relentless Misery of 1.6 Gallons

January 5, 2010 by

The law, passed during an environmentalist hysteria, mandated that all toilets sold in the U.S. use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. This was a devastating setback in the progress of civilization. FULL ARTICLE by Jeffrey Tucker


Patrick Barron January 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm

One more thing. It is a fallacy that we save water by not using it. When we use water, it eventually returns to the atmosphere to fall as rain. The process may take awhile, but all water has been “used” millions, perhaps billions, of times.

Patrick Barron January 5, 2010 at 3:30 pm

One more thing…and the last…I think. In Europe some toilets have a button that allows one to use a half or a full flush. They want to conserve too, but they are more practical about it.

John A Rolstead January 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm

@Josh – great points, it is about choice. It never ceases to amaze me how people fail to see their freedoms leaking away…

@Magnus – This is the real point, when is the last time you were able to destroy water? Mine was back in chemistry class making hydrogen.

@Jeff – great piece, worthy of reading in my favorite place, and about the right length…

I lived in Italy for a year in 1995 (Navy). They had toilets with just about a non-existent splashdown, so the best solution was to pre-load a layer of toilet paper in the landing zone. If you did not do this, you had to use the brush to clean up the area. Yuck!

I went to Belgium in 2007. They did have the 2 button choice system; I always used choice 2 whether doing 1 or 2! I feel ashamed now… think of the polar bears lost!

Recently, I recenty read in our town newsletter a note from the mayor. He was chastising citizens for flushing baby wipes down the toilet, stating that they caused problems with the system. In a free market, the business owner would buy the equipment to process the stuff that came out of the pipe and charge his customer accordingly.

Freedom! Give me the power to choose. I will make economic choices that benefit ME! Privatize plumbing now!

Rich Beecher January 5, 2010 at 3:38 pm

5 January

“Like Puritans of old, they see virtue in suffering and would like to see ever more of it.”

How does making remarks reflecting personal bigotries advance the cause of freedom?

“Roman Catholics weren’t happy unless they were burning dissenters at the stake. “

Del Lindley January 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Herein Jeffery Tucker inaugurates a new principle of economics: “The Tragedy of the Bottoms.”

Diane Toth January 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I loved your Mises piece on our current 1.6 gallon toilet mandate. It particularly hit home for me as our system recently became clogged resulting in a back up of our master bath shower as well. My husband initially used drain cleaner, thinking it was a routine clog, but nothing seemed to work and both the shower and toilets were clogged. After much blaming of the wife (first for wrong drain cleaner purchase, then wrong application procedures and finally for use of “toilet wipes”), a plumber was called. $150+ later we were advised there was a large blockage at the main pipe and while he couldn’t be sure what it was, he was pretty sure it was toilet wipes or use of the “wrong” toilet paper or some combination thereof. So in addition to the initial exposure of back-up filth, we have the additional unintended consequence of irritated and/or unclean behinds. Well, I draw the line at giving up my wipes. How about a “Recycled Wipes to Congress” mass mailing?

Diane Toth
Venice, FL

joe blowe January 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I see a systemic problem here.
We have been indoctrinated for the past 70 or so years in the ways of the socialist.
This pattern needs to be broken – I pay the price of political incorrectness – but I do speak out in favor of true capitalism.
Part of the undermining capitalism has to do with ‘keeping you busy – bogging you down’ with things like recycling, ‘sustainability’, global warming concerns, etc…
Please watch:
Yuri Bezmenov -interviewed in the 80′s- explains how the Soviet Union concentrated their efforts on subverting the minds, especially young minds. Political correctness, critical thinking, victimology, environmentalist, etc.


This is one of the most important series of videos of the century, it explains everything.

James January 5, 2010 at 4:17 pm

There are modern toilets that outperform those old crappers though. Take a look at the Gerber Viper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uelBHl3wZh0). The name lets you know that it’s serious, and could probably handle the work load of a frat house the day after meat-loaf/mac and cheese night. Technology to the rescue!

Christian Palmstierna January 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Wonderful article!

I’m always amazed at how you’re able to pinpoint these perhaps small but so very illustrative examples of how regulation and IP are bit by bit destroying our lives. And better still, in an almost poetically eloquent manner! FANTASTIC! :-)

brian j January 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Back in the early 90s I was a store manager for a large hardware chain in Michigan. When this moronic law was passed I started looking for a large supply of 5 gallon toilets. Needless to say the manufacturers had not built up a 2 or 3 year supply. I was only able to get 100 from one of our wholesalers and that he was not able to get any more. The plumbing buyer, who was a friend of mine,made me share half the toilets with other stores in our 65 store chain. It was a very sad day when I sold my last 5gal toilet about 6 months later. My best advice is never be separated from your 5 gallons, remove them before you sell your house and put them in your will!

roadmaster January 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Great article!!! I’ve been railing about these POS toilets for YEARS!!! I thought I was a tiny minority, but my guess is, people just sit still for this kind of gubmint meddling in personal matters.

Patrick, “flush early, flush often.” LOL

Good advice for my parties.

I try to “cycle” while I’m at work, where we have many older toidies that work great. Hey, maybe the boss will sell me one – several bathrooms in the warehouse are disconnected. I could replace the newer ones we have at home. They are a NIGHTMARE!!! If I get stuck on the can at home, I try to break it up into stages.

What a pain in the rear! Total foolishness and completely unnecessary. Stupid tree huggers…..

Fallon January 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm

In order to get this thesis into a top journal- the intrinsic goal of economics- you will have to test for and eliminate the obesity epidemic as the real causal factor. Btw, Burnhanke claims there is no scatflation.

Kitty Antonik Wakfer January 5, 2010 at 7:47 pm

I had a chuckle as I started your article, Jeffrey. I and Paul had just this afternoon discussed the need to *again* have to use the plunger with the master bathroom toilet – as has also been needed often with the 2nd bathroom. Your article reminded me of that mid 90s mandate on the 1.6 gallon per flush commodes – at item I’d totally forgotten and therefore failed to note to Paul, who is Canadian, every time he complained about the poor flushing toilets in our house (that had become mine when I divorced my previous husband). The house is 21 years old, was built per my design and has Kohler toilets of that era – prior to the mandate but still low water volume, something I did not at the time realize would be prone to the problem that can and does arise (pun intended).

In regard to Sherry’s comment, I am 64 and my memory is that in my parents’ houses plungers were in every bathroom (and those of other relatives where I noticed), but kept under the sink for the occasional use – and they were truly occasional.

I wonder what type of toilets will be found in Congress and the White House…. 3 or more gallon flushers? The (expensive) high force electric powered versions? I find it hard to believe that plungers are located next to the toilets in either location or the personal residences of those tax payer elevated personages. Almost surely the 1st class citizens – politicians being at the top of the heap – do not have to suffer in the bilges of the 1.6 gallon mandate.

Timothy January 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm

The real takeaway for me from this article, although Jeffrey didn’t spell it out, is that it’s a classic example of Mises’ cycle of interventions as he described in Socialism and elsewhere. The first intervention — a price ceiling on water — causes overconsumption, leading to a second intervention to fix the unintended consequences of the first (low-flush toilets). But since people simply flush several times, yet another intervention is needed (handles that only flush once per minute? Three-flushes-and-you’re-out legislation?) When people then resort to using three-gallon buckets as Jack suggests, perhaps you’d have to fill out a form at the hardware store when you buy a bucket stating that you will not use it to circumvent toilet legislation.

If it seems unlikely that we might someday have to fill out a form to buy a bucket, please note that you are already subject to similar scrutiny if you buy “too much” cold medicine at the local drug store. No-one saw that coming when Nixon kicked off the modern War on Drugs, another gorgeous example of the cycle of interventions run amok.

Couldn’t help pointing that out, this being the Mises blog and all…

P.M.Lawrence January 5, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Here’s a useful tip. Keep a large bucket handy and fill it up with water just before you flush. Then, right after you flush, while the pan is beginning to empty, tip the bucket load in as well. It won’t have enough momentum to do the job by itself no matter how much you use, but it makes a lot of difference once the momentum from the cistern water starts things moving.

Jeffrey Tucker January 5, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Lots of people have written to say that I have too quickly dismissed the need for conservation. Looking this up, http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2009/3098/pdf/2009-3098.pdf, it appears that domestic use of water, including watering lawns, accounts for 1% of total water use. Toilets have next-to-nothing to do with it. The attempt to make us conserve is just misery making and disease-spreading nonsense.

Bennet Cecil January 5, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I have very powerful memories from the 1950s when the outhouse on the farm was replaced by indoor plumbing. What an advance in civilization!

It is just wonderful having the government in my bathroom helping me save the planet. They have not noticed yet that I am a multiflusher, but eventually they will have a computer that monitors me. This will come with a government controlled thermostat on my furnace and air conditioner. Another device will be on my refrigerator to protect me from obesity so that I do not consume too much health care.

I suggest that someone design and sell a “Freedom Flusher” where freedom fighters could adjust the volume of water for each flush. It could be sold on the black market as a novelty item. My other suggestion is that someone distribute toilet paper imprinted with US fiat currency.

Jim Fedako January 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm

So how does one “conserve” water?

The water I drink is taken from the the Olentangy River (more like a creek), purified (or so they say), piped to my house, consumed by my family, sent either into the sewage pipes or sprayed onto our lawn. In both cases, the water ultimately returns to the Olentangy River, to be used by someone else downstream.

Now, there is a Budweiser plant to my south which uses a lot of water. But that water ultimately ends up in a water recycling plant in some other city, and ultimately into that city’s rivers, etc.

Of course, there are industrial uses for water, but they all end up in the same place in the end.

note: I exclude evaporation since that likely returns the water to some river to the east of where I live.

tawster January 5, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Interesting article, but the technical issue with 1.6 gallon toilets in the USA was crappy (pun intended) engineering. The europeans have had a superior (to our 5+ gallon toilets) low-flow toilet for decades. The USA manufacturers are finally catching up.

Tom - Eye Associates January 5, 2010 at 11:02 pm

I find it hard to believe that this saves water at all when it takes several flushes to make it work.

Sue Vieau January 5, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Dear Jeffrey: You aren’t suggesting that the reason you notice more toilet back-ups is there are more of them in fact, are you? You have no evidence for that at all.

Yes, we all know the government ruins everything it touches. And yes, it had no place in regulating toilets.

But to suggest that there are more toilet backups now because they now use less water is just plain silly.

Years ago, long before 1.6 gallon toilets, people didn’t flush tampons, condoms, paper baby diapers, paper towels, pictures of Nancy Pelosi,.. you name it, as they do now. Modern toilets, whether they be large or small in their water usage, take way more abuse than those of bygone days.

And the plunger has been standard in every bathroom ever since indoor plumbing started.

Our 1.6 gallon toilet has such strong suction it would suck away a small dog if it had the nerve to drink out of it. (California has a chihuahua oversupply anyway, or so I hear. Perhaps I have something there. lol)

Sorry, but I think your rant is unfounded in this case. But it’s easy to find plenty of other valid examples. Just look around.

Mushindo January 6, 2010 at 12:50 am

Its been said that a good, satisfying evacuation is life’s last remaining untaxed pleasure.

On this reading, that’s over. Regulation (ahem – scatalogical pun not entirely unintended) might not be tax per se, but as any Austrian knows, the effect is the same.

Our subjugation is now complete.

Ashleigh January 6, 2010 at 2:51 am

1.6 US gallons. Thats 6 litres.

LUXURY. In australia we have dual flush toilets (aka dunnies) where the full flush is 6 litres, and the half is 3 litres. Fine for flushing away a wee. But even they are dropping to smaller amounts.

Actually, its not the flush thats the problem, its the lousy plumbing underneath it. Where I live we have a terrible water shortage – so much so we haev dying rivers, and have not been able to water gardens for the last 5 years. I’m all for saving water. Just get some decent plumbing!

jl January 6, 2010 at 3:25 am

In at least some European municipalities, as I have heard, low flow toilets lead to a shortage of water in the sewer systems. So, large amounts of additional clean water have to be used to properly transport the waste out of the sewers.

The net reduction in water usage then, of course, is zero, but – recall Bastiat – the environmentalists keep a clean conscience.

person January 6, 2010 at 4:05 am

So, just because i can afford to urinate or defecate in 25 gallons of water, that makes doing so acceptable? There are people all around the world that could really use fresh water in order to survive, yet we urinate in it. I think that Mises Institute should have something more pressing to complain about than the amount of water we urinate and defecate in. But, if it is really that important to you, and you dont like the way the bathrooms look in a certain facility, stop supporting them with your money and go elsewhere.

Guard January 6, 2010 at 6:23 am

Yes, I can see it…Canadian toilet cartels fighting over turf in the U.S… Soon they have dealers hanging out near playgrounds and Chinese restaurants…
Innocent school children are fed high fiber diets to get them hooked…Then the CIA begins to muscle in on the operation, overthrow the Canadian government and install a toilet lord as puppet dictator…

Thomas Hallett January 6, 2010 at 6:30 am

First the toilets, now the lamps. What government has done with with plumbing they’ll now do to lighting.

Get ready for CFL lamps whose brilliance is so dim we’ll call them a dark instead of a light.

Stock up now on tungsten filament light bulbs before the next absurd prohibition takes place.

Bob in Texas January 6, 2010 at 6:57 am

Most posters have no idea what is going to happen with water in the next couple of years. It is the new oil. Where I live, the aquifer routinely drops to levels it never would have a few years ago.

I don’t like these toilets any more than anyone else, but the simple fact of life is that our quality of life is declining because the world can no longer support the wasteful ways we used to do things. The author of this column needs to man up and learn how to pee and poop. The times they are a changing, and I have a feeling that he will also be the first to whine when water is $10 a glass and even worse, you can’t get any at any price. 2 billion people around the globe already live with that.

Sorry for commenting, but this was one of the most ignorant columns I’ve ever read. If you don’t believe me about water depletion, Google it. Google the Ogallala aquifer. See what American waste is doing to the planet and see how we’re going to have to live in a few years because we have far too many dolts like this author who believe that it’s our God given right to use as much as we want.

karika January 6, 2010 at 7:05 am

This article really surprised me. There is a finite amount of water, or molecules that could combine to create water within our atmosphere. it is a fundamental law of nature that matter cannot be created or destroyed, but changes shape or form. The human body needs water for survival. Whoever came up with the idea of shitting in it should have had the idea shot down. There are better ways of dealing with our waste besides poisoning the most basic need for survival. I believe all water toilets should be a thing of the past, and toilet paper too.

Voluntary January 6, 2010 at 7:21 am

Bob in Texas,

I must conclude from your post that you know how to write but that you can’t read.

Read Jeffrey Tucker’s post again and again or ask your mother to help you if you can’t read.

Capitalism, through it’s price system, is the best way to allocate ressources, even scarce ones and without government intervention, people would pay the market price of water and have as much water as they are willing to pay for it.

Jeffrey Tucker precisely pointed out that sometimes you have to be “wasteful”, especially in waste disposal. We need to spend that water.

But why am I wasting my time writing to you, you can’t read.

Thomas Hallett January 6, 2010 at 7:29 am

Sadly, some posters here are operating with less than a full tank.

The issue is not saving water vs. wasting water; It is about goverment assault on the social/commercial contract.

I DO have a God-given right to use as much water as I choose to purchase; substitute any commodity for water and that right still applies.

Furthermore, I have a God-given right to be left alone from meddlesome do-gooders (Ninnies, in the words of Clyde Wilson) as I conduct my business.

To the shmucks living in the desert, you have a God-given right to, Yes!……move!

Josh January 6, 2010 at 7:32 am

In light of the many comments criticizing the article/missing the point (as I predicted) I have copied a portion of what I originally wrote…

—Of course a 1.6 gallon flusher will work – perhaps always. Whether or not a 1.6 flusher is adequate most of the time, for most people, in most situations is irrelevant. The underlying question here is do/should toilet manufacturers have the right to produce (and consequently, do/should I have the right to purchase – even if I’m the only one in the entire world who wants one) a five or – as noted above – 25 gallon flush toilet. —

The market will dictate, via the consumer and/or persuasion, whether or not it is beneficial to them to have a low-flow toilet. If a competitor goes that route and the majority of people – b/c they are either genuinely concerned about the environment or just b/c it’s cheaper – begin to buy his toilet, others will soon follow (or at least offer both kinds of toilets) for fear of going out of business.

Again, certain people just wish to dictate to others how they should act b/c the former believe they know what’s best for strangers. They wish to speed progress along when in fact they are thwarting it, never allowing Men, all acting individually, to figure the best routes to take.

greg January 6, 2010 at 8:25 am

The law applies to residential toilets, not commercial! This is a case where your cheap Chinese resturant went down to Lowe’s to buy their toilet. I suggest you find someplace else to get your takeout.

In residential, the 1.5 gallon toilet is fine provided you buy the right one. This is a tired argument, get over it and make an effort to reduce your environmental impact. You will be surprised, it saves you money.

Mushindo January 6, 2010 at 8:47 am

Pointmissers on this thread, please be advised that there is no water shortage on planet earth. Theres plenty of it ( last time I looked about 80% of the earths surface is covered in the stuff).

For most of humanity’s history, human settlement was dictated by proximity to a reliable source of potable water. In recent times, we humans developed the means of getting it from where it is to where the people are, not the other way around. this naturally comes at a cost of building resources, the exercise of intellect, and effort. But it can and has been done, albeit not very efficiently thanks to th ecustodians of most nations’ reticulation systems being government-controlleed and taxpayer-funded.

if theres any water ‘wastage’, the fault lies not with the users, but in the fact that its price in any given location is not commensurate with its scarcity ( or abundance) at that location. If government gets out of the way, we would see those communities with access to abundant water take the initiative to move it to where it is most scarce yet demaded, at the lowest possible cost – with a thousand different ways of doing so being innovated tried and refined. in various micro-contexts. And we’d also probably see much more technology devoted to desalination plants in places where the cost/benefit balance most indicates.

as for Karika, who seems to think that waterborne sewerage is evil, does she have ANY idea what a health boon that simple innovation has been to humanity?…How many millions of lives have been saved from fatal diseases, fly infestations and th e like? ( tangentially, Im reminded of Bucky Fuller’s ‘water-saving’ invention in the 70s for a dry packet sewerage system, which involved an automatic mechanism that wraps each movement in clingfilm as soon as it is extruded , whisked away with compressed air blown through tubes! Thats right, taking the most biodegradable substance known, and sealing it in in a plastic parcel for posteri(or)ty – to save a bit of (infinitely recyclable) water! at unimaginable cost. Besides the locking up of all that potential fertiliser, and rendering it inaccessible to biological processes anywhere. Lunacy!)

Besides, if clean water is properly handled and distributed with free markets, the water used in sewerage is not wasted anyway, so it shouldnt matter how much is needed per flush – its all very easily biologically treated and recycled in processes that are allied to nature itself. In any locale, the scarcer the water locally, the more cost-effective such recycling is going to be.

Paul Marks January 6, 2010 at 9:25 am

A very good article.

Shay January 6, 2010 at 9:25 am

Bennet Cecil wrote, “They have not noticed yet that I am a multiflusher, but eventually they will have a computer that monitors me. This will come with a government controlled thermostat on my furnace and air conditioner.”

There are already power-company-provided thermostats that centrally control people’s air conditioners during peak demand. A few policy changes and these could be mandatory.

person wrote, “So, just because i can afford to urinate or defecate in 25 gallons of water, that makes doing so acceptable?”

Yes, it should be acceptable for you to use however many gallons of water you please, as long as you pay for the water. It’s called “private property”.

“There are people all around the world that could really use fresh water in order to survive, yet we urinate in it.”

Same with sunlight. My lawn gathers lots of sunlight people in cold regions could certainly use more of. Maybe if I put aluminum foil over my lawn, the light would reflect across the world to them? Absurd? Just as absurd as the idea that my reduction in usage of water from a river near me will increase the amount of water someone has across the world.

“I think that Mises Institute should have something more pressing to complain about than the amount of water we urinate and defecate in. But, if it is really that important to you, and you dont like the way the bathrooms look in a certain facility, stop supporting them with your money and go elsewhere.”

If you read more closely, you’ll see that the issue is the government forcing makers to reduce capacities, not simply the amount of water in a toilet flush. Thus he can’t take his business elsewhere, because they’re all under the thumb of the government.

Bob in Texas wrote, “I don’t like these toilets any more than anyone else, but the simple fact of life is that our quality of life is declining because the world can no longer support the wasteful ways we used to do things.”

Bob, why not simply raise the price of water, if it’s really so scarce? Then people will voluntarily choose all sorts of conservation activities, specially suited to each individual person’s lifestyle. One person might learn how to half-flush when appropriate, another might choose a 5-gallon toilet and reduce in other ways. The waste is entirely caused by an inappropriate price signal to consumers; why should anyone worry about water usage (as compared to usage of other consumables) when they can get 5-10 gallons for a penny?

Dick Strang January 6, 2010 at 10:14 am

I dunno, when growing up, the boys/men around me found ‘cool’ places to pee outside, still do. Gauche redneck custom; or trailblazing planet-saving cowboys?

Bill Jones January 6, 2010 at 10:26 am

It looks like there’s a market for an entrepreneurial type here.
The task : design and build a toilet that uses 1.6 gallons of water but which, when a removable panel is absent, uses 5 gallons.

Big sticker on Panel “Do not remove this panel and flush 5 gallons of water. For use in overseas markets only”

Ned Netterville January 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

greg@”In residential, the 1.5 gallon toilet is fine provided you buy the right one. This is a tired argument, get over it and make an effort to reduce your environmental impact. You will be surprised, it saves you money.”

I have Kohler, 1.6gpf. A big dump can require many flushes. I’m not surprised. It doesn’t save me money. No government regulation ever does. Grow up, and stop looking to nanny government to solve your problems. The flush problem begins with government ownership and/or regulatory control of water resources. With said ownership/control comes political considerations as opposed to market forces in determining best uses, etc. With the former, best-use choices are made by a small political establishment always based on political considerations wherein re-election is the foremost factor. The market is comprised of all consumers and its choices are thereby better informed as to the most efficacious use by a factor of millions (consumers) to one (politician).

Great article Mr. Tucker, for it paints a lovely picture in vivid brown colors of but one of the unintended consequences of government meddling in the market. Now to correct the feces on restroom floors problem, we can look forward to some bureaucrat or politician proposing regulations requiring the installation of overflow monitoring alarms on all commercial and residential toilets.

During the “first energy crisis” (not counting the earlier whale-oil shortage energy crisis) of the 1970s, I owned a cider mill in NE Ohio that operated seasonally in a large barn-like structure. Although we had boilers for processing apple butter and cider jelly, the building was unheated and the inside temperature in October, November and early December was the ambient air temperature, which virtually never exceeded 60 degrees and was usually in the 30s or 40s. Nevertheless, we received a very official letter from Jimmy Carter’s energy bureaucracy ordering us under penalty of law to reduce our thermostat settings to a specified level (I think it was 68 degrees F), sternly warning that we would be subject to inspection and prosecution if we failed to comply. Naturally, I sent the sender of that notification a letter advising the high-ranking bureaucritter who had signed it that I refused to comply with his silly order. without explaining why it was so silly.

Bill jones January 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

Dick Strang : Me and my boy hose down the great outdoors whenever possible, there’s nearly always an intransigent weed somewhere that could use the attention and with careful application we’ve been able to curb the growth of the wife’s hysterical wisteria to something more manageable.
Why waste such a valuable resource?

tfr January 6, 2010 at 11:16 am

Hey, burning fossil fuel “creates” a certain amount of water… so next time an enviro-weenie scolds you for flushing twice, “Oh yah, I’ll go drive around for an hour to make up the difference.”

Big Tex January 6, 2010 at 11:39 am

Enjoyed the article… salient point with regard to gov’t force vs. free market choice.

Couple of notes:

Re: water prices… In my neighborhood, the vast majority of homes are rather old, and come with no water meter, thus making our water bill a flat rate.

With respect to the Gauche redneck custom, I say “Yee haw! The john is over yonder… third bush on the left.”

Bill Haynes January 6, 2010 at 11:57 am

Brilliant example of how government intervention in the marketplace screws up things. Every time I do multiple flushes, I think the stupid 1994 law.

Bob January 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Try a Toto Drake, they really work on 1.6 gallons OR less with dual flush and are very inexpensive.


IP Question January 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm


Wow, toilet stuff is really popular on this blog.

Not to mention that the though of saving the planet with your toilet is probably the most insane thing of all.

Whit January 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Well written and concise piece as per usual Mr. Tucker. My father is in construction in rural Iowa and has had an affinity for attending auctions. And since the mid-nineties one of the hottest items that he looks for is vintage toilets because people in the know will pay a pretty penny for them. It is fun to chide him about it because my father is a very honest man.

I was discussing this with him a few years back and he told me that he recognizes most of the faces at these auctions who are bidding on these old toilets. Human action be crazy, mathematical models be damned. I wonder if this is a common thing.

J. Murray January 6, 2010 at 1:44 pm

What I find comical about the whole toilet thing is that water isn’t really wasted. It goes down the drain, evaporates, ends up in the sky and is rained back down again. No chemical reaction that converts water into something else happens in the entire process. Water isn’t being wasted, it’s just moving around.

rironin January 6, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I find the blind adoration exhibited by most commenters amazing. I just encountered this article on reddit, and complained, as precious few have done here, that Mr. Tucker seems to be assuming that the water we flush is controlled by a free market in the first place, and that therefore our choices about how we use that water will be adequately massaged by the invisible hand if we were left to our own devices.

Of course, this is not the case. Municipal water supplies are underpriced, and supply is limited. Anyone who has been inclined to turn on the sprinklers on a summer evening and been prevented by a government ban can attest to this. Water is not priced by a free market – prices are kept artificially low to allow all to have access, but the result is a demand that outstrips supply. Thus the government tries to restrict our usage to the most necessary in times of scarcity.

Mr. Tucker could have written an article about how he wishes our supply of potable water was sold in a free market rather than government controlled. That would have been an interesting and far more challenging article to write. Instead, he spun a yarn about toilet regulation which apparently took place in a fictional land where water really was market priced, sidestepping reality completely.

Magnus January 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Mr. Tucker could have written an article about how he wishes our supply of potable water was sold in a free market rather than government controlled.

By all means, please write just such an article for us, and post the link to it back here.

I am sure that people would be glad to read it, and then tell you just how interesting, relevant and accurate we find it to be.

rironin January 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Magnus, you miss the point entirely. Without such an article, Mr. Tucker’s opinions on toilets are worthless.

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