"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences." ~ C.S. Lewis
Federal Register Watch
What freedoms have you lost this week?
The Federal Register is the official daily publication for Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential Documents. This column attempts to summarize the highlights (or lowlights) of the Federal Register during the preceding week.
Instructions for subscribing to the Federal Register can be found at the end of the column.
JULY 28, 2003 :
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE ' REVIEW OF ANTIDUMPING DUTIES ON ITALIAN PASTA
The Department of Commerce is extending its review of the duty on pasta imported from Italy , as 'the case is extraordinarily complicated.' It doesn't seem terribly complicated to me: of course Italy is likely to have a comparative advantage in the production of pasta, just as Germany is likely to have a comparative advantage in the production of sauerkraut and Mexico in the production of pi'atas.
Italian restaurants in the U.S. are marketed for their 'authenticity,' but when truly authentic Italian pasta is offered on the market, politicians artificially raise the price to protect American producers, and thereby garner their votes. What do the politicians care? Lobbyists buy their meals.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR - $39.7 MILLION TO TRIBAL LANDOWNERS FOR BIOLOGICAL PROTECTION INCENTIVES
The Department of the Interior has earmarked $39,740,000 for tribal governments to protect 'at-risk' or otherwise federally regulated species. You, too, can be a recipient of government largesse! Just make sure that you come from the right 'underprivileged' background' and can afford the expensive consultants to help you jump through the regulatory hoops involved.
Typically, the price of receiving government funds for programs is the need to hire people who know how to interpret the laws and regulations ' usually those involved in writing them up in the first place.
JULY 29, 2003 :
NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (NIOSH) ' STUDY OF NOISE FROM POWERED HAND TOOLS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
NIOSH seeks information to help it assess how loud power tools are for a database it plans to develop. Comments are sought on, among other things, '[w]hether the proposed database will be useful for its planned purposes.' What purposes could this include? Sheer curiosity?
Each federal government agency pays people to examine the minutiae of life, and then cites its amplitude of tasks to seek more funding for more personnel. And so it grows . . . .
JULY 30, 2003 :
FEDERAL CROP INSURANCE CORPORATION (FCIC) ' PROPOSED INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF CROP INSURANCE PROGRAM
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation seeks to make its blueberry crop insurance program permanent. This, of course, is no surprise. Government programs, even when proposed as temporary, inevitably become permanent.
This represents yet another government incursion into private enterprise. The government has consistently sought to buy off the agricultural sector in trade for votes, and it has worked spectacularly. Inefficient agricultural projects are protected, as are politicians' jobs, all at the expense of taxpayers and consumers.
OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE ' DECLARATION OF PARENTS' DAY
This is a joke. The federal government avidly pursues welfare and educational policies that erode the value of the family, and then declares its support of parents?! Here's a Parents' Day gift: give parents the freedom to educate their children in the manner they see fit, without inferior curricula dictated from Washington or insipid programs designed to inculcate obedience to the state.
Parents' Day will occur when the state gets out of the business of trying to manage families and co-opt the education of children.
OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE ' RENAMING THE PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE ON MENTAL RETARDATION AS THE PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES
Is this a body that studies Congress? I'm not sure . . . .
JULY 31, 2003 :
OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE ' OBSERVANCE OF THE DEATH OF BOB HOPE
Perhaps in recognition of Bob Hope's patriotism and service, the federal government will skip levying the tax on his massive estate. Not likely ' the government takes every chance it can get to sap the resources of the honest businessman.
AUGUST 1, 2003 :
OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE ' CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO IRAQ
This 'national emergency' ' which has nothing to do with this nation's territory ' has been continuing since August 2, 1990 , a full 13 years. The biggest national emergency here is the taxpayers being forced to bankroll the murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
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