We probably all need a break from the healthcare and gun walking topics. So let's talk about something light, like government regulations. This is a long post, but you have the time. You know you do. You spent a lot of time arguing about the ACA and Fast&Furious. Whenever a politician puts forth an idea which seems so obviously wrong to me, I ask myself, "Is that guy evil, or stupid?" There is usually no way of knowing, short of being a mind reader. If I ascribe evilness to a politician's motives, I am most likely writing my own biases on him or her. As the saying goes, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." So…regulations. Evil, or stupid? Or neither? Or both? Or sometimes? Speaking in very general terms, I think people who argue that regulations are both evil and stupid believe that the human beings who run businesses are incapable of being evil or stupid. Right about now someone is thinking to themselves, “I see where this asshole is going.” Bear with me. I intend to present the case for and against each side. Unfortunately, history has shown us that business owners are capable of very evil acts. One example is the illegal dumping of toxic wastes which subsequently leaked into the water table. Child labor is another. Union busting, another. A regulation is like one of the biblical commandments. “Though shalt not steal the air from thy neighbor by poisoning it.” “Though shalt not kill by radiating the countryside.” Regulations, like commandments, are a means of protecting us from ourselves. One argument against regulations often put forth is that that regulations cost businesses eleventy gazillion quadloos a year. But the people who make that argument NEVER show the figures for how much money and how many lives are saved by regulations. I once displayed evidence after evidence after evidence of the lives and money saved by regulations that were initially strongly opposed by the regulated business, and it was ignored with amazing willful blindness. Another argument against regulations often put forth is that instead of regulations, we should just let people sue the bejeesus out of a business after they are killed by poison or radiation. The flaw in this argument is obvious. It is pretty hard to spend the millions the jury awarded you when you are dead. History also shows us that fear of a dead person suing the bejeesus out of them has not stopped businesses from dumping toxic waste, failing to replace faulty auto parts, etc. In some cases, they actually factor in the lawsuit costs when deciding whether or not to replace a deadly faulty part and go with what is cheaper. If it is cheaper to let a bunch of people die and fight their survivors in court than it would cost to replace the part, they let the people die. And that is indisputably evil. Regulations are preventative. Lawsuits are punitive after the damage of the bad deed is done. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is better. So let’s say there is a regulation against dumping and a company dumps anyway. Does that mean the law obviously needs to be thrown out? I don’t know. Do the murders that occur every day mean the laws against murder obviously need to be thrown out? Maybe it means the law is not tough enough. Or maybe it means the root cause was misidentified when the “solution” was created. And, boy, do I see THAT happen a lot in politics. Don’t we all? And that brings us to the other side of the table. All too often, the nanny state supporters will argue thusly: “We must do something. This bill is something. We must do this.” Those who oppose “this” are accused of being happy with the status quo and/or evil and/or stupid. So I guess what I am trying to say is that we need to stop being self-averred experts at “solutions” and start working at being expert problem identifiers. Just for purposes of illustration, let’s look at the lack of regulation in banking. There is an actual provision which excludes banks from gaming regulation in the CFMA. How come no one ever asked why a bank needs to be excluded from gaming laws? It’s another long topic about how the financial services sector is robbing your 401k manager, your insurance company, your college, and your city treasury. This thievery results in lost retirement money, higher insurance premiums, increased college tuition, and higher taxes and public pension employee contributions. All because banks are allowed to literally run a fixed gambling operation. A bucket shop. So…if a thief is coming into your house and stealing your goods, how is raising the taxes of a guy who lives in a bigger house across town going to solve that problem? It won’t. If a thief is caught by the police, and they fine him 5 dollars and let him keep your stuff, and he doesn’t even spend a minute in jail, how is raising taxes of a guy who lives in a bigger house across town going to solve that problem? It won’t. “Tax the rich” is a solution that does not properly identify the problem. ObamaCare: If a kid drops out of high school, and subsequently can never be gainfully employed because he is a high school dropout, and therefore can never afford health insurance, how is putting him on Medicaid going to solve that problem? It won’t. I could go on and on about how badly the ObamaCare “solution” misidentified our problems. So…regulations. Evil, or stupid? Or neither? Or both? Or sometimes? I submit they are sometimes evil, sometimes stupid, and sometimes necessary. The trick is discerning the truth and not falling for illogical partisan rhetoric. Whew! Done. Enjoy.