I will work every day to make Washington D.C. as inconsequential in your lives as I can. Texas Governor Rick Perry announcing his bid for the 2012 Republican nomination.
That sentence by Rick Perry is the one I appreciated the most in his announcement speech, and make note of the words Washington, DC and “inconsequential” in that sentence. Now let’s turn to Sen. Rand Paul, who spoke earlier this year before a full committee hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee regarding energy efficiency standards of certain appliances. Below is a portion of the transcript found at Rand Paul’s website.
SENATOR RAND PAUL: Thank you Ms. Hogan for coming over today and thank you for your testimony. I was wondering if you’re pro-choice.
KATHLEEN HOGAN, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at the Energy Department: I’m pro-choice of bulbs.
PAUL: Well, actually, that’s the point. The point is that most members of your administration probably would be frank and would be up front to characterize themselves as being pro-choice for abortion. But you’re really anti-choice on every other consumer item that you’ve listed here. Including light bulbs, refrigerators, toilets, you name it, you can’t go around your house without being told what to buy. You restrict my choices, you don’t care about my choices. You don’t care about the consumer, frankly.
You raise the cost of all the items with your rules, all your notions that you know what’s best for me. Frankly, my toilets don’t work in my house. And I blame you and people like you who want to tell me what I can install in my house, what I can do. You restrict my choices. There is hypocrisy that goes on when people claim who believe in some choices but don’t want to let the consumer decide what they can buy and put in their houses. I find it insulting. I find it insulting that a lot of these products that you’re going to make us buy and you won’t let us buy what we want to buy and you take away our choices. These things you want us to buy are often made in foreign countries. You ship jobs overseas. The same thing your administration claims to be in favor of you’re shipping our jobs overseas by saying we can’t make these items over here.
I find it really an affront to the sensibility of the idea and notion of the free marketplace, of capitalism, of freedom of choice. Now, it’s not that I’m against conservation. I’m all for energy conservation. But I wish you would come here to extol me, to cajole me, to encourage, to try to convince me to conserve energy. But you come instead with fines, threats of jail, you put people out of business who want to make products you don’t like. This is what your energy efficiency standards are. Call it what it is. You prevent people from making things that consumers want.
I find it really appalling and hypocritical and think there should be some self-examination from the administration on the idea that you favor a woman’s right to an abortion but you don’t favor a woman or a man’s right to choose what kind of light bulb, what kind of dishwasher, what kind of washing machine.
I really find it troubling, this busybody nature that you want to come into my house, my bathroom, my bedroom, my kitchen, my laundry room. I just really find it insulting and I find that all of the arguments for energy efficiency you’re exactly right we should conserve energy – but why not do it in a voluntary way? Why do it where you threaten to fine me or put me in jail if I don’t accept your opinion. In America we believe in trying to convince our neighbors and but not trying to convince them through the force of law. I find this antithetical to the American way.
HOGAN: I have a couple responses to that. 1. I think the appliance standards program is a great partnership between the Congress and the administration over many years. So much of what we are implementing had its genesis in bipartisan bills that we put forth at a number of different points over the history of this country for the last 30 to 40 years.
PAUL: But you restrict our choices, right?
HOGAN: I really do not believe the appliance standards end up restricting personal choice.
PAUL: I can’t buy the old light bulbs. That restricts my choice on buying. I can’t buy that.
HOGAN: My view is what you want is lighting?
PAUL: I can’t buy a toilet that works.
HOGAN: I can help you find a toilet that works.
PAUL: Are you going to pay for it? Everything costs more, to go back and retrofit the toilets that don’t work that no bureaucrat understood or flushed before they made us use them, will cost us money. It will cost us thousands of dollars to go back and add some kind of jet stream to the toilets. And we don’t even save money. You flush them 10 times and they don’t work. You busybodies always want to do something to tell us how to live our lives better. Keep it to yourselves. Try to convince us with persuasion but don’t threaten to put us in jail or put us out of business for not accepting your way of thinking.
I really enjoyed what Sen. Rand Paul said to this busybody from the Dept. of Energy. When the GOP take back the White House in 2012 there are a lot of these busybodies at Energy, EPA, and Interior that need to be sent packing. Recently there have been some excellent articles on how tax policy is harming our economy, and I thought I’d write a companion piece about how regulations are harming our economy too.
It is true that a city can do for their city what these busybodies are trying to do to the country. San Francisco made law to mandate low flush toilets intending to save water. The toilets reduced the city’s annual water use by 20 million gallons, but they have had the unintended consequence of causing sewage problems. Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes. That has created an awful stench in San Francisco, especially during the dry summer months. So this new San Francisco treat is not Rice-A-Roni.
The manufacturers of home appliances cannot supply what the consumer is demanding because all of these regulations prevent the manufacturing of these products. This is also true with automobiles and with food. The busybodies in these federal regulatory agencies do not want us to have a choice of buying a large automobile and cooking up some popcorn in coconut oil because they really believe they know better about what is best for us. It is called the “Nanny State” and it is wrong. Sen. Rand Paul describes this problem well, and Rick Perry alluded to what he wants done about it. Yes, Washington, DC must become more inconsequential in our lives.