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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16899/the-thoroughly-rotten-central-planners-and-their-wicked-ways/

The Thoroughly Rotten Central Planners and Their Wicked Ways

May 11, 2011 by

As part of my ongoing series on the small ways government wrecks our lives, I’ve been getting floods of correspondence from business people who tell amazing stories of the most idiotic regulations that are slowly ruining their lives. I receive dozens of these every day, and I’m astounded at how the details are not even published in an accessible form that I can link to. Industry is regulated so extensively that you would never know about it unless you actually were charged with following all this nonsense day after day.

Here is an example. A pizza parlor owner wrote to me to say that a new regulation set to go live in July requires that they no longer use washable aprons in their kitchen but rather use disposable ones approved by the government — and that this is a follow-up on a new regulation passed last year that did the same thing to the cloths used to clean tables. This is all part of the Safety First program of government (and don’t you know those bureaucrats really care about our safety). What could be the safety issue? The fear is that washable aprons might have leftover germs, and this might indeed be true given that phosphates are banned in detergent, so of course nothing gets really clean anymore. And so intervention piles on intervention and restaurants will now be going through boxes and boxes of disposable rags and aprons, which will undoubtedly enrage the greens.

If anyone can find a link somewhere about this case, that would be great.

In general, I can’t even imagine that the Soviets would have dared regulate life in this much detail. To the extent commerce exists at all in this country, it is despite these regulations passed by and enforced by these parasites.

Oh, and a heads-up: Skip Oliva has an article coming out on Mises.org on (this you will not believe) how the FTC is regulating the prices of low-end shampoo and conditioner.


J. Murray May 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

The greens will eventually get a mandate that all those dirty aprons and rags be recycled, which of course means we will end up re-using them, except it will end up costing more for the same thing.

I’ve also noticed that table cloths have vanished from restaurants. They’re either going bare table or use those tacky paper disposable things. I wonder if some regulation has anything to do with this trend.

bobobberson May 11, 2011 at 9:07 am

Its probably cheaper in the end to use disposables. The cost of drying all that stuff can have its costs, since there is massive intervention in the energy sector. Not to mention the massive intervention in the energy efficient appliance markets too. You know since the government is trying to get us to use less energy and all.

Anthony May 11, 2011 at 9:18 am

Maybe using disposable will be cheaper and maybe it won’t… but I would think that if disposables were significantly more cost effective then restaurants would already have switched, making the regulation superfluous.

JFF May 11, 2011 at 9:58 am

Two reasons, J.Murray: 1. rising cost to launder and 2. simple style changes, i.e., the “blue-jean chic” movement.

That being said, there are still plenty of really great restaurants – and awful ones, too – that are using real tablecloths.

Steve Hogan May 11, 2011 at 10:24 am

I was going to propose that someone do a thorough cost comparison between washable and disposable aprons and table cloths. Then I realized that we’re dealing with bureaucrats.

Facts don’t matter. You could show that their regulations are more costly or more damaging to the environment. None of this matters. What matters is that the busybodies have control and can justify their power and expand their little empires. These people are a menace to society.

Shay May 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Maybe producers of disposables had a hand in this regulation as well. Follow the money.

jl May 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I think the Soviet Union was simply too poor to afford all these regulations. Ironically, it seems that the more prosperous we become, the more resources we are able to squander because of stupid regulations. A bigger dog can support more ticks!

Michael Richards May 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm

^ I love this post XDDDDDDD

augusto May 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Fresh from Brazil:

“The House Committee on Constitution and Justice (CCJ) approved a bill that requires manufacturers of underwear, panties and bras to affix a label warning about the importance of screening tests for cervical, prostate and breast cancer. The project has been appreciated by the Senate and voted in the CCJ. If no appeal is made for the project to be submitted to plenary vote, it will be submitted to presidential sanctioning.”

So there you have it: the Brazilian house of representatives and the Brazilian senate actually engage in discussing what should be written on underwear tags.

Capn Mike May 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm

The long-standing precursor in the States, familiar to every teenage boy:

“For Prevention of Venereal Disease Only”. :)

sth_txs May 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Here is one. Gas chromatography equipment sometimes uses an ECD (Electron Capture Detector) for detection of pesticides. It has a sealed Nickel 63 isotope source of about 10 to 15 millicuries. It is required every 6 months to do a wipe test to test for leaks. I’ve asked vendors about whether one of these has ever leaked and the answer is no. You would literally have to remove it from the instrument and crack it open with a hammer and then put it in your pocket for it to be a real issue.

augusto May 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm

“You would literally have to remove it from the instrument and crack it open with a hammer and then put it in your pocket for it to be a real issue.”

you mean, exactly what happened in Brazil in 1987?

yes, in a totally different context, I know – the equipment (for radiotherapy) was abandoned in a junkyard… I just thought your comment very interesting.

Daniel May 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Actually, the hospital that owned the machine changed location and a court order impeded the owners from removing the teletherapy machine left behind. Going so far as to use police to impede the owner from removing the machine from the premises.

augusto May 11, 2011 at 10:18 pm

happened a long time ago, I didn’t remember the details – but thanks for correcting me. :-)

Shay May 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm

My local supermarket had this awful beeping every few seconds, coming from the front of the store. This went on for over a month of hearing this non-stop during every visit and I eventually started shopping elsewhere, even though this supermarket was just a couple of blocks from where I live. I called and asked why they were allowing something that would clearly drive customers away, and was told that it was the fire alarm and that they were waiting for a part. It all made sense then, since there is probably massive regulation and unnecessary rules regarding the fire alarm. They probably couldn’t have disabled the constant beeping without facing fines, even though it served no purpose and was being tuned out by employees (otherwise they’d have gone postal having to listen to it 8 hours a day).

Freedom Fighter May 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm

When I read germs and then phosphate in the same sentence, I knew this was written by Jeffrey Tucker. LOL :-D

One government regulation, banning of phosphates, leads to another problem: Germs. Then they ban reusable cloths and aprons to combat the ill effects of their previous regulations. When restaurants start to go under because it’s too expensive to use disposable stuff, then the government will start subsidizing to help that industry stay afloat and then charge a tax on the sales to pay for that program.

It never ends. The government never admits it’s mistakes, in this case the banning of phosphates and makes this more and more complicated in an effort to not admit it’s mistakes.

Freedom Fighter May 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm

“In general, I can’t even imagine that the Soviets would have dared regulate life in this much detail. ”

That’s because the soviets were mostly impoverished and rural based. They could not have regulated the lives of their people in such details because such details did not exist.

Most soviet citizens did not have laundry soaps from which to ban phosphate in the first place and most restaurants and food markets experienced chronic meat shortages so there could not be germs where there was no food.

David May 12, 2011 at 5:02 am

I like these kinds of posts a lot. Focusing on smaller issues, which in the big picture seem insignificant, help to plant the seeds of doubt within the heads of those who may not be open to the idea of liberty.

It’s easy for the average person who has never questioned the establishment to dismiss the bigger libertarian ideas such as zero taxation, private streets and highway systems, or private security firms as complete nonsense. These smaller issues really make evident the ineptitude and absurdity of the state and the failings of this bureaucratic nightmare to even the true believers in the state.

As an aside, I’m wondering what percentage of a certain bureaucrat’s “working hours” have been put into this initiative? In my imagination I see a state worker making 100k per year spending months working on this less than worthless idea. He is consequently congratulated for a job well done and given a raise to 125k.

augusto May 12, 2011 at 6:06 am

when I was younger (let’s say, late teens), someone told me that jobs in the public sector in general paid much less than the private sector. this was compensated by the fact that public sector workers had much more job secutiry (essentially, they are never dismissed). and back then, it was true for most positions, if you compared the level of education required and the type of job performed. today, this is largely untrue, at least in Brazil. An entry level engineering job in the private sector in a large company will pay around 2000 dollars/month – and you must be very luck to find one of these, whereas an entry level job with the electoral court will pay almost 3000 dollars/month (and it’s still a job-for-life). It’s no wonder companies are complaining they can’t find qualified workers in the market. Anyone who has brains will choose the best paying-less-working-more-security public sector jobs. Strangely enough, companies turn to the government for a solution to the problem…

mushindo May 12, 2011 at 6:34 am

A friend of mine has just completed his commercial pilots licence examinations, under the auspices of the civil aviation authority. He tells me that a significant chunk of the course material required detailed operating knowledge of various landing and navigation technologies which are no longer in use…… anywhere in the world! ‘you gotta know this stuff ‘cos its in the curriculum!’

J. Murray May 12, 2011 at 6:44 am

I feel safe knowing that commercial pilots know how to land a plane made of wood and cloth powered by a lawn mower engine from 1912.

augusto May 12, 2011 at 7:17 am

Another one from Brazil: as in most countries, if you want to drive a car, you need to pass a written and a practice test, both organized by the government. In Brazil, the written test includes questions about the environment and civism. (I don’t drive, and I don’t have a license)

mushindo May 12, 2011 at 6:51 am

Heres one:

Bottom line: It is illegal to offer a tour guiding service in Cape Town without being trained, accredited and licensed first.

augusto May 12, 2011 at 7:21 am

Same in Brazil.

The Ministry of Tourism keeps a record of all registered tour guides in the country. There’s this lady here in town who sends us every week a flyer with her weekly tours – you know, she rents a small bus and takes people to visit nearby towns, or go to concerts, this kind of stuff. In small print, on the bottom of this flyer: “I’m a Ministry of Tourism accredited tour guide. Don’t trust non-accredited tour guides.” I guess a non-accredited tour guide will take me to a dark alley and chop my head off?

I should add that many tourism entrepreneurs are the ones behind this accreditation stuff. The other day, I was watching a TV debate about the tourism industry in Brazil and this guy, representing business kept talking about how important it was for government to issue specific regulations designed to increase the quality of hospitality services provided in the country.

J. Murray May 12, 2011 at 7:28 am

Probably show me the boring places.

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