The Bureaucracy Knows No Limits And Has No Common Sense


The problem with big government is that when government gets bigger, so does it’s tendency to have greater and greater influence in everybody’s life.  Far too often that influence goes far beyond reason and into regions of stupid plain bullying.  To say nothing of cronyism and protecting vested interests and sacred cows.

For a case of just plain stupid this article in the NY Post points to a rather egregious case.

Supposedly, a 2012 law put the crossroads of the world under the restrictions of the 1965 Highway Beautification Act — which limits signs to 1,200 square feet. Now Washington is pushing the city Department of Transportation to comply.

Earth to Uncle Sam: Don’t be a jerk.

In-your-face billboards have marked Times Square for decades; modern technology has only added fresh marvels. The tourists love it, and so do the locals. “Highway beautification” doesn’t apply.

Here’s a use for President Obama’s phone and pen: Call the bureaucrats, sir, and tell them to drop it. If you have to, take out your pen and issue an executive order directing them not to enforce the law in this case.

I don’t know how many people who have been to NYC, but the advertising in times square is a huge attraction year around.  It’s something that is unique in the world.  The signs are SUPPOSED to be as big and splashy as possible.  That’s the POINT.  This is not a billboard on some random highway, it’s supposed to be the over the top, crassy, in your face crossroads of the world. 1200 sq ft signs are pathetic in Times Sq.  Yet the bureaucrats are dictating, which is just dumb.

Which is the way a bureaucracy operates.  As it reaches into everything we do in it’s endless search for perfection.  Today it’s candy with toys inside.

The Food and Drug Administration released the 499-page plan, which requires manufacturers to follow a strict set of regulations for their products to hit the market.

Walter Cukier, a representative of Perdomo Cigars, said he is confused about the new regulations and its “huge swaths of unclear language.”

Cukier said the new regulations would affect his bottom line.

This new regulation is the windfall the government will collect for those companies who wish to remain open,” Cukier said. “The government is expecting hundreds of millions in instant taxation.

“Premium cigar sales make up less than a percent of all tobacco sales every year. Our industry is being crushed by the weight of the rest of the industry for the convenience of bureaucrats.”

The administration released its final rule May 5, which subjects e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, and premium cigars to new regulations under the FDA. If the rule is not challenged, it will take effect Aug. 8.

The regulation says that any new cigar products must go through a rigorous and costly application before it can go on the market. The same thing was enforced for cigarettes under the Tobacco Control Act of 2009.

The Associated Press reported in 2012 that the FDA has been slow to approve any new products.

“Tobacco companies have introduced almost no new cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products in the U.S. in more than 18 months because the federal government has prevented them from doing so,” the AP reported.

Cukier said that “this legislation marks the beginning of the end as it is unlikely for any new [cigar] product to be approved.”

The cigar industry and its customers have largely relied on new products each year. However, the imposed verification process will radically slow the rate of new cigars going on shelves as well as the number of new cigars in general.

Jason Wood, vice president of Miami Cigar and Company, said that customers will have to focus more on brand loyalty and stick to a product they like that was made before February 2007.

“[Customers] are used to being able to go in each time and say, ‘What’s new?’ and smoke a new cigar every single time and get all excited about limited editions,” Wood said. “They’re not going to be able to have those experiences like they used to because there really won’t be that many releases on an annual basis.”

Scott Drenkard, a writer for the Tax Foundation, reported that by the FDA’s own appraisal, the “new regulation would wipe out somewhere between 10 and 50 percent of [cigar] products as it will not be cost effective to put many of the products through review.”

Yesterday it was the rabbit police stalking stage magicians.

Gary is a full-time performer working heavily during the tourist season at numerous resort areas and tourist attractions on the island. One day, the local newspaper showed up at the show and took some photos to accompany a short blurb about the tourist area. The photo that ran included one of Gary’s beautiful Angora Rabbits.

Imagine Gary’s surprise when, a couple of weeks later, a field inspector from the USDA contacted him explaining that he needed to have a license to use the rabbits in his show. He was so surprised, in fact, that he though it was a joke! He was quickly informed it was indeed no joke.

They made arrangements for the inspector to make the three-hour trek from Columbia, S.C., to Hilton Head and Gary went through the process to become licensed.

“She was very polite and helpful in explaining everything. She also seemed to understand the lunacy of the whole thing. At the same time, I guess she has a job to do,” said Maurer. “She also asked me if I knew other magicians who used rabbits. I told her she’d have to find that out for herself!”

Gary said she also informed him that she knew about SCAM, South Carolina’s annual meeting of magicians and had plans to show up there. As of yet, we’ve not had an opportunity to tar and feather anyone from the USDA!

One instance could be an isolated case. Enter Nick Propst from Columbia.

Nick is a weekend warrior in Columbia. He’s proficient in kids and family shows and does his fair share of events in the area, ranging from churches to birthday parties. Nick also has a few rabbits in his arsenal of props.

Nick was at work one day when he received a call from his wife. Seemed she was a little unnerved. Some lady had rang their doorbell. When his wife answered, the unidentified lady asked for “Nick the Magician.” Nick’s wife told her that he wasn’t home, thinking it odd that a prospective customer would come to their home. The conversation subsided, and the door was closed.

Then, the still-unidentified lady sat down on their front porch and started writing. In a few minutes, she rang the bell again. When Nick’s wife answered the door, she was handed a note telling them she was with the USDA and that he’d need a license for his rabbits. Seems she’d found him by searching the internet and discovering his web site.

“Nobody knows about my web site except my family!” Nick said. “Not a great business move, I know. The point is the site is not ‘out there.’”

Mrs. Propst agreed to give Nick the note, and the door was again closed. Mrs. Propst was about to leave. When she entered their garage from their house, she saw a lady with her hands pressed against the glass of their outer garage door. The USDA “rabbit lady” was peering into their garage! If that’s not creepy enough, she also made herself at home and browsed around their yard before leaving. (Hum “The Twilight Zone” theme song here!)

This happened to Nick in August of 2007. Just before I got word from him that this had happened, I had done a week of library shows in Columbia (the S.C. Rabbit Police‘s apparent headquarters). Some of the libraries had put my name on the marquee. My name in lights . . . sort of. Three of the four bulbs were burned out! I arrived back home on Friday evening after a long week away and found the voice mail light flashing. When I listened to the messages, I too had received a call from the USDA “Rabbit Police.”

These are just some of the cases where the Administrative state is running amuck.  Just every thing we do has to regulated, licensed and controlled by people who have no skin in the game and just like making rules.  It’s gotten to the point that even that wonderful entrepreneurial teaching tool, the lemonade stand has become an object of government demands.

The problem is that regulation is the broken window fallacy on a government scale. The government will tell you all about the “good” that it does, but it the one thing we can never know is what might have happened without the regulation at all.  The government would have you believe that anybody who engages in business is a borderline sociopathic crook who wants nothing more than to kill people for profit.  They also want you to believe that most of the American people need to be protected from themselves.

The problem is that the people doing the regulating are no better than the people being regulated.  In fact they are much worse.  In many ways a bureaucracy is like this.

The problem is that most people cannot prepare like this. This was just a license submission, though why somebody


Like breaking a window in the parable, regulation tends to be destructive. It may be easy to see the benefits, like the repaired window, but the hidden cost of compliance are hidden and unseen.

The people who come up with the idea of a regulation never seem to consider the costs of compliance to those who are regulated.  Or they may be using regulation as an attack on something they don’t like, fast food, for instance.

I’m sure that most of the users of fast food restaurants avidly care about calorie counts, not.  Seriously this is just another attack on a business chasing the romantic notion that is if the fast food were not available, people would eat better.  What escapes these clowns is that they have no place in telling anybody how they should be spending their lives in the first place.   Let alone the costs of trying to keep up with the endless rules.

The real cost of the Administrative state though, is measured in the stuff we don’t see because it doesn’t happen. The same regulations that are imposed on existing restaurants prevents possible new ones from opening with new food ideas.  Food ideas that might be healthier.  Or more tasty.  Or just more exotic.  When the cost of opening anything gets to be so large that only the chains can open, all you will get is chain food.  When the heavy bludgeon of regulation permeates society, society starts to lose the economic diversity that represents prosperity. Which means that we all lose.



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