Free Markets, Free People
From Reason TV (remember corporatism v. capitalism?):
This story slipped quietly under the radar last week as we had the UN speech, the Iran revelation and the G20.
An examination of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation finds it contains 397 new regulations and 1,100 new mandates. And you’ll be pleased to know it will simplify your life, make child birth pleasant and cost you nothing.
But you can rest assured there is most likely something for everyone because this isn’t just about controlling CO2 emissions. This is about more control of your life via the radical green agenda.
Take homeowners for instance. If you thought selling your house was a pain in the kiester before, Mr. Waxman and Mr. Markey can’t wait to make it even more fun for you:
One of them would affect almost everyone who buys or sells a home. If Waxman-Markey becomes law, homes for sale that qualify as “federally related transactions” — which is almost all of them — would be required to undergo an environmental inspection.
Inspections are not free. Nor is fixing the inevitable violations. Compliance with new energy-efficiency standards would make homes, especially older ones, more expensive. Selling one’s home would become even harder than it already is in this down market if Waxman-Markey-style cap and trade becomes law.
And that is just one of the unintended consequences.
Suppose you have a window that isn’t quite airtight or your appliances are a little too old. Maybe they’re not Energy Star certified. You’d have to replace them before you would be allowed to sell your home.
Suppose you wanted to sell your house “as is” and let the person who buys it fix it up, for a suitable discount of course.
That is no longer a choice you’ll have. The buyer and seller wouldn’t be allowed to make that decision anymore. The party that continuously claims that “choice” is important to them apparently believe that particular choice is one neither the buyer or seller should have. The transaction is subject to the regulations of Mr. Waxman and Mr. Markey’s bill and you’ll not sell anything government inspectors haven’t deemed “green” enough to sell and certified as such.
Nothing, of course, could go wrong with that, could it? And of course, the article deals with just one of the unintended consequences. Let me again point out that it includes 397 new regulations – that means there’s at least one unintended consequence for each of them (and possibly more) and it will most likely be a nasty surprise.
In fact, take a good look at what could be more of the unintended consequences from just the regulation requiring home inspections:
To sum up: Inspecting homes for sale for their environmental friendliness would raise home prices. Buying or selling a home would become an even more onerous process than it already is. And there’s an easy way to dodge the bullet: Rent instead of own. If enough people did that, the inspection requirement would fail to achieve its goal of making homes more energy efficient.
And that in the face of and in conflict with policy which seeks to increase home ownership.
When regulation becomes too arduous, what do people normally do? Adjust, avoid and do what is easier and cheaper.
Is there any reason, depending on what the other 396 regulations contain, that the same won’t happen with them?
This is where we’re headed – regulators literally telling you what trees to plant and how to plant them (that’s actually contained in the Waxman-Markey bill as pointed out in a previous post). Is this the government you want? Is this the level of government with which you’re comfortable?
If they can require you to plant your trees and fix up your home their way, what else might they figure they should have the power to do?
The case against?
Bernie Madoff, of course. A man who bilked investors of some 80 plus billion dollars over a couple of decades knew how to fool the regulators and was not shy about passing on that information to those who worked for him.
Money quote (no pun intended):
“You know, you don’t have to be too brilliant with these guys because you don’t have to be …”
Apparently the regulation regime, which should have easily have caught Madoff, failed too because regulators got to cozy with him:
“The guys . . . ask a zillion different questions and we look at them sometimes and we laugh, and we say, ‘Are you guys writing a book?’ ” he said.
“These guys, they work for five years at the commission then they become a compliance manager at a hedge fund now.”
Yeah – we need more regulations. That’s the ticket. More. That’ll fix it.
The regulations were there – the regulators, however, failed to enforce them. My guess is that a close examination of why we ended up in the financial pickle we did had less to do with the lack of regulation and more to do with what let Bernie Madoff skate for so long – a criminal lack of oversight by regulators as authorized by law.