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How Much Government Control Is Too Much Government Control?

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for SiriusXM

There have been many, world changing, innovations, in the two hundred, thirty seven-year history of the United States. Today I want to talk about just five. These are the top five in my opinion — automobile, electricity, radio & TV, flight and the telephone. Imagine living your life without just one of these life-changing products.

Yet, for reasons unknown to me, all these inventions are now under government control. Before you paint me as anti-government, I’m not. Governments serve a very useful service to the people and we’d be in a real mess without them. I just think it’s strange that when something comes along that benefits everyone on the planet government expects a piece of the action.

The Automobile

I’m not sure Henry Ford envisioned heated cup holders in his future designs. But thanks to government we have air bags (front and side), safety glass, seat belts, low emissions, special fuels, license plates, registration and rules of the road.

Granted, most of these government intrusions are there for our safety but isn’t it at least somewhat conceivable that manufacturer’s just might have come up with these same improvements anyway?

Electricity

Where would we be without this little invisible gadget? I will admit that electricity can be extremely dangerous if not used carefully. But you would think our use would determine the price. The more you use, the more you pay.

Yet our nanny government just couldn’t resist forming state Public Service Commissions, who sit in their high backed leather chairs and decide if a private company can or cannot raise your rates. This same private company wants to come to my home and show me how to use less of their product saving me money. I don’t see the PSC doing that.

Radio & TV

There are eight words I’m not allowed to say on the radio. And Oh — if that were the only restriction. Opie and Anthony can say any vulgar, vile, profane thing they want because they are on subscription radio. People have to pay to listen to them.

On the other hand, sponsors buy radio time so you can listen to me. Wouldn’t you think the fear of losing sponsors, and station revenue, would be enough to keep my language in check? But each and every year we have to renew our license with the Federal Communication Commission to broadcast on the public airwaves. Big brother? … Awfully close.

Flight

No question about it; we definitely need safety first here. But every statistic out there says that air travel is by far the safest way to travel. Is that because government is looking over every mechanic’s shoulder? Don’t think we have a staff big enough to pull that off.

No, it’s in the airlines best interest to keep billion dollar investments working properly and producing revenue. Many airports are showing government TSA baggage inspectors the door in favor of private contractors.

Telephone

This one really has me scratching my head. Why does a device that allows me to talk to someone somewhere else need regulation? I pay private companies for my usage. Yet, I’m taxed and regulated all over the place. I could read a Harry Potter novel quicker than my phone bill. I’m pretty sure there are taxes on the taxes on my bill.

Some Final Thoughts

Do I have to mention those stupid curly light bulbs, childproof caps, and warning labels, low flow showerheads, energy efficient appliances, and water saving toilets? As I write this I’m looking around my living room. I’m sure the paint and wallpaper must have to comply with some federal guidelines. The carpet? The wood stain on the coffee table?

Tags? “Do not remove under penalty of law?” Are you kidding me? Label police? The dog’s bed has three labels. Throw pillows, bed pillows, the mattress and box springs have labels. All the food has nutrition labels.

No wonder we have a $16 trillion dollar debt. You want job security? The more innovations that come along the more people the government is going to need just to keep an eye on me. Think of all the money I could save the government if I just watched out for myself? Naaaaah — that can’t work.

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