Government Regulations: Genius at Work


          This politically correct silliness, while hypocritical, unnecessary, and vigorously enforced by the Speech Police, does not, thankfully, operate with the force of law.  That franchise is monopolized by the government officials who, with their squadrons of bureaucratic mosquitoes, get and keep their jobs because otherwise rational people have elected them to positions of power.  Once on the inside, they need to justify their existence, so they take a good idea and bend it into a convoluted mass of regulatory minutiae that imposes annoyance on almost everyone, including the people they were trying to help.  A good example of your government at work is seen in the ubiquitous effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some of the mandates make eminent good sense, like handicap parking, access ramps where reasonable, and restroom accommodations in public facilities.  Most of its requirements are ridiculously overwrought.

Give weak minds the latitude to make enforceable decisions and you have inmates running the asylum.  Reason takes leave and excess becomes the norm.  A classic example takes place hundreds of times each day in airports across America.  We regularly board and ride the underground transportation between terminal buildings without incident.  We grab a pole or strap, swaying and leaning contentedly, countering the forces of inertia as the car bumps along at 25 mph, accelerating and decelerating at each of the terminal stops.  Minutes later, we must, by federal regulation, be strapped into our seats before the Captain can signal the tug to push us away from the gate at a speed that never exceeds a slow walk—maybe 2 mph.  If a single person stands to retrieve a book from the overhead or, God forbid, walk to the biffy rather than pee in his tweeds, the offense is egregious enough to earn the Captain a stiff fine if he doesn’t stop the plane, the tug, and the ground crew walking alongside the wingtips until the offender is belted into his seat.   

It’s not that I want to get up and wander around during push-back.  I’d rather relax with a magazine and a pre-departure cocktail.  What gives me the redass is that I am paying for the moronic bureaucrat in the FAA who came up with this dumb regulation, now and throughout the duration of his life-long government pension, while I'm watching his buddies down the street dump my 401(k) in the tank.  And it’s undeniably a dumb regulation; otherwise surely subways and busses would all have restraint straps.  I have concluded that all “zero tolerance” rules are conceived by illogical people with an inflated sense of self-importance who assume we are as stupid as they are.  Rather than permitting judgment to prevail, we end up with fines for pilots and suspension for first-graders who bring a one-inch, plastic G.I. Joe pistol onto the school bus. 

My friend Mel The Architect tells of the warehouse he designed for a client in the Northeast.  An enormous facility for which he won a design award, the loading dock featured a long row of dock doors against which eighteen-wheelers slid into position to load and unload their incoming and outbound cargo.  Thermal efficiency requirements from the Energy Department dictated that the rear of each trailer be sealed to the dock’s respective opening, which not only reduces heat loss or saves A/C power consumption, but also precludes exterior movement across any two proximate trailers.  Therefore, a “people door” needed to be placed between pairs of dock doors to allow drivers to gain entrance into the warehouse. Naturally, each such entrance required a ramp, properly angled to accommodate a wheelchair.  Mel brought to the sanctioning body’s attention the fact that over-the-road, big-rig truckers don’t use wheelchairs.  Try to imagine a paraplegic climbing into and out of a big-rig cab, checking tire pressures at truck stops, and inspecting the airbrake couplings between tractor and trailer.   Of course, the doors serve in an exit capacity as well, so one might ascertain that

at least the dock workers could use the ramps whenever they needed to leave the warehouse and roll out into the yard to admire somebody's new Peterbilt.  But dock workers, like roofers, don’t work in wheel chairs either.  I recall the forty-foot trailers, stacked chest high with sixty pound cases of paint, that I loaded and unloaded every summer through college.  The thought of doing that job in a wheelchair is beyond ridiculous.  The fact that all these ramps would never, under any circumstances, be utilized was totally immaterial.  Impracticality and uselessness notwithstanding, the ramps were inviolate and have probably never been used to this day. 

At best, we’re talking about foolishness. We’re paying these people to come up with regulations like the one that requires dairies to label natural, unpasteurized, raw, whole milk—the kind that comes from Bessie’s udder and goes straight into the jug--as “artificial milk” because it doesn’t contain certain federally mandated chemical additives.  At their worst, these legions of cost centers are writing policy that will someday bankrupt us as a nation.  They’ve become an endless bad dream.  Government agencies thrive and self-perpetuate on the issuance of ill-conceived, meticulously and incomprehensively articulated lunacy.  You need look no further than the airport security lines, where agents are instructed to give no  higher


scrutiny to the young Middle Eastern male than the grandma from Des Moines.  Rather than training screeners in profiling the characteristics of the dominant threat, i.e al-Qaeda operatives, your government bureaucrats were instructing our last line of defense to confiscate toenail clippers from airline pilots who, once beyond the security screeners, had their very own red crash-axe mounted on the cockpit wall—not to mention their very own flying bomb in the form of a fully fueled Boeing.  


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Stupid Government Regulations