Regulatory Commissars

More Regulation Yields Worse Products

Calls for more government power must be resisted, especially during times of crisis.

Thomas Gallatin · Mar. 17, 2020

What happened to the gas can? In a recent interview with American Institute researcher Jeffrey Tucker, journalist Sharyl Attkisson explores the topic of how government regulation has made things that used to work well now fail to meet muster. After relaying his experience with changes to the gas can and how poorly it pours out its contents, Tucker noted that government regulations are to blame. But it’s not only the gas can that has been regulated into a state worse than before; it’s a litany of devices and appliances that have been made worse by the government.

“These are the sorts of things that affect the quality of our life on a daily basis,” Tucker observes. “Does your ice maker actually make ice? Does your iron work? And this is all because of these regulations. Isn’t it strange how much regulations sort of secretly control all the things we use in our life? We don’t even know it. And they’ll never roll it back, so they never face any real pressure. So there’s no way to revert it. Whereas normally, in private enterprise, if you design something that doesn’t quite work right, people stop buying it and that’s the end, so there’s a mechanism that corrects for errors. But when government’s doing it, they don’t seem to have any way to fix it.”

Tucker’s discovery is not limited to a few inconsequential items. In fact, it’s the all-too-common experience of every American. While he grants that these bureaucrats’ regulations may be well intentioned, he argues, “The problem is that the bureaucrats have inordinate power and if they make a mistake, there’s really nothing that can be done about it. We ended up having to spend the rest of our lives working around them and I don’t think that’s a good way to live. We used to have gasoline cans that worked well. And then we created this innovation that just didn’t work nearly as well.”

In this light, we should be crying foul when politicians like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio call for the federal government to take over private enterprise, as he did recently over coronavirus fears. “People can get tested according to a priority structure, and it’s not enough testing. It’s just as simple as that,” de Blasio argued after he called on the fed to take control of U.S. businesses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. He continued, “Here’s the reality. This is a war-like situation. We’re in a war-time scenario with a ‘Mar-a-Lago attitude’ being used by the federal government, right? … This is a case for a nationalization, literally a nationalization, of crucial factories and industries that could produce the medical supplies to prepare this country for what we need.”

Calling for a fascist takeover of America’s private industry is a textbook recipe for ushering in tyranny. And “helping people” is always how tyrants justify their demand for greater power. Somehow, it never works out the way they claim.

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