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.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2003 :


The FTC here sets forth new rules for the labeling of dishwashers according to standards of energy consumption set by the Department of Energy (DOE). These new rules reflect changes in the manufacturers' testing process mandated by the DOE. That these two agencies are wasting taxpayer money and meddling with the market process reflects the stupidity of government regulation.

In a just society, individuals are free to determine whether products are worthy of purchase, and determine what energy or safety standards they wish the product to have. After all, it's the consumer that has to pay for the energy used by the product and who will suffer if the product is unsafe. Depending on a variety of factors, consumers may or may not prefer products certified as safe, energy efficient, or having whatever other qualities they desire. (This free-market approach has the benefit of self-regulating only where necessary; for example, I'd demand a certifiably safe gas oven, whereas I wouldn't want a toothbrush manufacturer to raise the cost of its product by having it thus tested.)

Here, the statists jump in, declaring that, in practice, manufacturers (exploitative, greedy ogre capitalists that they are!) would never create any sort of regulatory system, and the result would be almost universally shoddy products. In fact, the market already does regulate itself, when left unburdened by government red tape, and does it very well, thank you.

The best example of this is Underwriters Laboratories, whose logo, a circle with the letters "UL" on the inside, appears, most likely, on the better part of your appliances and electric devices. The firm, privately financed by the manufacturers that freely choose to use it to test their products, conducted 106,942 product evaluations last year, and its logo was placed on 17 billion products. An astonishing set of statistics, and a considerable triumph for the free market.

Government regulatory agencies typically appear in the news under the shadow of scandal or tyranny. This, of course, is no surprise. Let us abolish all of them, including the worst, the FDA! There are already free-market organizations to ensure that various foods conform to certain standards, such as organic and kosher, and similarly superior organizations would fill the void left by an abolished FDA. These organizations do not have the poor reputation that the FDA has, because they do their jobs reliably, efficiently, and without bias--qualities rarely found in government agencies.

Free your dishwasher, and your food will follow!



The TSA resumed its mawkishly named "September 11 Security Fee" on October 1. The fee, ranging from $2.50 to $10 per trip, will be used to cover the cost of the agency, whose goons' job it is to grope, molest and humiliate innocent passengers before they board their flights.

Of course, if you voluntarily pay to be groped, molested and humiliated, the state charges you with a crime and sends you to john school, which I suspect is about as effective as its other "public" schools.


SEPTEMBER 30, 2003 :


Here, the DOE outlines its proposed rules for the much-ballyhooed federal aid to faith-based organizations. I urge you to read the first few paragraphs of the "Background" section (a couple of pages down). They read like a White House press release, chock-full of absurd claims that only the simple-minded (or state-instructed) could swallow (as well as the standard "no child left behind" reference). The worst sentence:

"Often this good work of faith-based organizations is done despite meager resources, and in the past, it has generally been done without the assistance of the Federal Government."

First of all, their resources would be considerably less meager if the federal government would quit taxing Americans so heavily. The primary blame for the poor financial shape of these organizations rests upon the heads of Bush, Clinton , et al. But this does not provide an excuse for the government to tax us even more heavily to support these organizations. It is immoral for the government to force the taxpayer to finance an organization he or she opposes (be it Focus on the Family, the Muslim Women's League, or the federal government itself). The assistance of the federal government means the compulsion of the taxpayer.

If the government wants to support private schooling, then make all schooling private. Public schools are poorly run and are forcibly paid for by people who do not use their services. If faith-based organizations want to accomplish their goals over the long term, they should be lining up not to ask for funding but to demand freedom from an avaricious and degenerate government.


There are similar proposed rules from the Department of Justice in regard to aid to faith-based organizations. I'd suggest to these organizations that they consider the word 'justice' and whether their concept of the word is the same as the federal government's. I'd wager that, in most cases, they're radically different.



34 cubic feet of files from the Nixon administration are being released to the public. Considering that this is the man that gave us continued Selective Service slavery, military targeting of civilians, wage and price controls, abandonment of the gold standard in favor of fiat currency, and a wide variety of costly welfare programs, among other things, there should be some interesting materials here.



Bush declared September 28 to be "Gold Star Mother's Day," as a tribute to all of the mothers who have had sons or daughters killed in battle.

Unfortunately, the list of grieving mothers is long. This is the legacy of the state: stupid wars and dead children.

I wonder if Bush celebrated Gold Star Mother's Day during the year he was AWOL.


OCTOBER 3, 2003 :


The State Justice Institute will be granting millions of dollars in grants (it's not yet certain what the exact figure will be) to "Improve the Quality of Justice in State Courts Nationwide."

The phrase "state justice" is a non sequitur, as the existence of the state itself is unjust. It involuntarily forces individuals to pay it money and follow its rules, no matter how capricious. This coercive entity invariably leads to the systematic abuse of power by those who control it, with a set of arbitrary laws replacing any real system of justice.

You can never trust the state to provide justice, but instead theft, death and humiliation.


To subscribe to the Federal Register Table of Contents LISTSERV electronic mailing list, go to http://listserv.access.gpo.gov and select Online mailing list archives, FEDREGTOC-L, Join or leave the list (or change settings); then follow the instructions.

Your rating: None
Nick Ebinger's picture
Columns on STR: 27

Nick Ebinger lives in Sin City (DC, not Las Vegas) and is rather amiable for a curmudgeon.