Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Draft of a thought: If businesses could deduct 100% (from taxes due, not as an expense) of the costs in meeting government regulatory standards, maybe government would be more efficient in it’s legislation and bureaucracy.

I thought of this because my wife deals with drug control and documentation requirements at the vet hospital.  The labor cost of managing such drugs is almost the entire total, the actual drug wholesale cost being comparatively negligible.  And these are drugs that when sold to humans — often the exact same pills with a different label —  are ten or more times more expensive, due to even more controls and heavy legal liabilities.  (We can in no small part thank the lack of tort reform for that.)

And then I was asked for my birth date at an office supply store.  I was buying canned air and apparently looked 25 years younger than usual.  It was explained to me that kids were gettingseriously hurt abusing it, but somehow asking me my age solves the problem.  I explained back that I used to sell cutlery and selling a pocket knife to a grade school kid without his grandfather there was covered by existing child endangerment laws.  Why do politicans have to seem so busy that they create endless special laws for every single contingency?  Do we really need a cell phone law when there is already one for distractive driving? 

Don’t we have judges for a reason, namely to sensibly apply laws to given circumstances?  Or do we have to enburden every citizen, business, and organization with tens of thousdands of laws about every aspect of everything they might in a million years do, say, or otherwise encounter?  The more extensive and particular the law is, the less it can be justly applied to real life situation.  Otherwise we have no right to challenge the occassional irrelevance of a law on one end, or the guilty go free from complex technicalities on the other.  I’ve said this before — complexity creates loopholes and plugging them with more complexity creates MORE loopholes.

Of course, my position is not to be lawless or not hold people accountable for their actions.  It is to be sensible about it — to not be governmentally insane.  Dictations regarding every aspect of conduct, purchase, and even being, are replacing simple, everyday liberties.  You might not care, but it’s kinda a huge deal to the rest of us who see where this is going.  We will become more and more like sheep if we are given less and less opportunity to even look like we might stray in some way that might cause some statistically insignificant tragedy.  If it’s more likely to get hit by lightning, don’t make a law protecting us from it.  We must have SOME means to exercise our own common sense and self-responsibility without the compulsion of Big Brother’s guidance.

Can legislation solve problems in our society and economy?  Yes, but the ones that HAVE been solved were by broad, effective laws that broke new ground, not micromanaging ordinances as infinitum.  For every law that works, we have bookshelf inches of red tape that is respectively meaningless, burdensome, and  intrusive.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, having a democratic process and all, this is not just a legal problem, but a societal one.  It’s our attitude of “there oughta be a law” as the solution to everything — WE demand those ‘in charge’ do something whenever an unpleasantry hits the fan.  After 9-11, we created the HSA, as if we didn’t already have half a dozen lettered agencies to handle the exact same thing.

We MUST stop justifying the reasons for excessive regulation and instead find ways to have reasonable accountability based on enforcement and consequence rather than pretending we can prevent every possible evil.   Chicago once proposed a law that all plastic pails must have a slow leak in case an infant may drown in one.  REALLY?  Averting such laws is common sense but impossible to achieve when we have a government structured around “doing” rather than “protecting” society. The result is that we have more laws than anyone (including law enforcement) could possibly read in ten lifetimes. 

We are long past the point where there is no person or business who is not breaking SOME law every day.  It is only a matter of Mr. Officer or City Hall looking long enough.  And the more laws, the more contradiction, and I don’t just mean being too old to drink or vote, but being handed a rifle to die in a foreign war.  There are myriad conflicting laws.  If you are carrying your gun to your car after hunting, you are violating one law if it is loaded and another if it is not.  If you do not vent the air from an industrial building you violate OSHA requirements, and if you do you violate EPA mandates.

If you brought back someone via time machine or cryogenic freezing from as little as fifty years ago, they would think the degree of legislation surrounding our lives today was a science fiction production — a farce.  It reminds me of the emails and Facebook posts passed around about “when I was growing up we never worried about XYZ and somehow survived.”

It may seem a small thing when my wife was proofed for buying spray paint for her boss some years back, on the off chance she might be a teenager on a graffiti mission.  (And it may be profiling and even discrimination to assume a child would use it for such purposes and an adult would not.)  But it is the massive avalanche of a million little — and I will argue UNECESSARY — intrusions and potential fines in our daily lives that prompted me to ask the cashier at the office supply store, “Are you old enough to remember when America was a free country?”