Grumble, grumble, overregulated, grumble, grumble

Los-Angeles-building-inspection-manMany years ago, we were contemplating building a separate mother-in-law unit on a back part of our property:  one room, a bathroom, a little kitchenette, etc.  There were several reasons why the plan wasn’t feasible, but the major one proved to be the requirement that we had to make the whole thing wheelchair accessible, something that added tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of the plan.  None of us need wheelchairs. And of course, the unit would never be open to the public, unlike a store, so we had no concern that someone needing wheelchair access would have a right to enter the property.

Even if I knew then what I know now, which is that there are times in your life when you wish you could use a wheelchair in your own home, I still wouldn’t have invested tens of thousands of dollars in a relatively small project because of the off chance that, for a month or two, I might prefer getting around with a wheelchair or a walker.  If it subsequently turned out that I would permanently need wheelchair access, then — and only then — would it make sense for me to invest tens of thousands to upgrade the property.  Likewise, if subsequent buyers wanted to make that mother-in-law wheelchair accessible, let them bear the cost.

But nooooo.  Thanks to the bureaucratic who write regulations, and who have an endless desire to control and perfect everything, I was being forced to spend tens of thousands of extra dollars for something useless to me.  The net result was that we built nothing at all.

I raise this bit of ancient history because I’ve once again learned that, because of some remodeling on our property, I have to spend several thousand dollars to comply with safety regulations that confer no benefit on me, my family, nor those who visit our property.  The regulations are inconvenient, expensive, and, as to me, entirely unnecessary — but the entire project must come to a halt if I don’t comply.

There’s nothing that brings out the libertarian in me like a municipal code.

Having had my grouse, let me say that I’m not entirely opposed to building codes and inspectors.  There are definitely things that can and should be standardized for the greater good.  Having standards for plumbing, electricity, weight-bearing, etc., all makes good sense, especially in earthquake country.   A good building inspector can also help protect a homeowner from a bad contractor, and that’s nothing to be sneezed at.  Having mandatory access laws for politically correct reasons, though, is something entirely different.

Also, for those who are familiar with my community, I feel I should say that, when it comes to dealing with my local building department, they are nothing but pleasant:  from the front desk to the back office, they’re polite,  helpful, and responsive.  My gripe isn’t with the my local building department, which is just doing what the law requires it to do.  It is, instead, with the governing principle that says that this kind of micromanagement is acceptable.

Britain yet again reveals the danger of allowing regulations to sap initiative

I don’t think I need to offer much comment on this story, which is one more indictment of the danger of over-regulation that always follows in the wake of Big Government:

Ambulance paramedics battling to save a nine-year-old car crash victim were told the nearest back-up crew could not help as they were on their lunchbreak.

Schoolgirl Bethany Dibbs suffered a fractured skull and ended up in a coma when a car smashed into her as she rode her scooter across the street.

An ambulance crew went to the scene and called for extra help, only to be told by their operator the closest back-up crew still had a few minutes left on their meal break.

Due to the strict rest-break regulations, the astonished paramedics were informed it would take 20 minutes for another crew to arrive.

In the end one of them called their colleagues directly and they immediately abandoned their sandwiches to race to help.

They arrived just five minutes after the original crew and rushed the schoolgirl to hospital.

She is now making a good recovery.

Read the rest here.

This is what happens when excessive rules sap all initiative

The only thing I’ll add to the my post title by way of commentary is that this is the America that Obama and the Democrats envision for you, since increased government control inevitably presages the rise of regulations that destroy initiative, innovation and courage:

A jobsworth ambulance boss refused to allow his staff to enter six inches of water to treat a man with a broken back – because it breached heath and safety.

[snip]

But they [onlookers] were stunned when a paramedic arrived and refused his pleading staff to enter the water – because they weren’t trained to deal with water rescues.

They had to slide a spinal board under him themselves and carry him to ambulancemen, who were stood on the bank just 6ft away.

One onlooker said: ‘The paramedic wouldn’t treat him.

‘Two colleagues arrived in an ambulance but he stood in their way and told them, ‘I’m incident commander – you aren’t getting into the water.’

‘The ambulancemen were pleading with him. I reckon a good ten or more minutes were wasted.’

Steve Cox, 47, who runs the Middlemoor Water Park in Woolavington with his wife Julie, said: ‘The first bloke insisted they had to wait for the fire brigade.

‘He kept saying, “Health and safety won’t let me get in”.’

[snip]

A spokesman for the South West Ambulance Service said only fire crews were trained for water rescues.

He said: ‘The incident was managed in accordance with procedures.’

In August, heart attack victim Melissa Proctor-Blain, 32, died after a paramedic feared it was unsafe to enter a pub in Spondon, Derbys.

Last year Karl Malton, 32, of Crowland, Lincs, drowned in 18ins of water while 999 crews waited for a water rescue team 50 miles away.

Let me remind you what initiative and courage look like:

Construction worker rescue

Obama’s plan to jumpstart the economy

Obama finally came out from hiding to talk a bit about the economy.  One of my liberal friends found this the most exciting aspect of his speech:

“We’ll be working out the details in the weeks ahead, but it will be a two-year, nationwide effort to jumpstart job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy,” Mr. Obama said. “We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels, fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.”

You could see my friend thrilling to the Rooseveltian aspect of it all:  the government will rebuild America.  It’s the CCC and WPA all over again — never mind that after several years of those programs, the US was mired in an even worse depression than that which Roosevelt inherited.

My friend outlined all of the wonderful alternative energy sources that could be created once Obama got his hands on the reins of energy creation.  He waxed lyrical about a way to use mirrors and water to create steam all over America’s vast plains and deserts, and then to run this steam into interconnected turbines that would power America.

“It can be done,” he said.  “They’re already building the prototypes in Nevada.”

“If it can be done,” I asked, “and it’s so wonderful, why hasn’t the private sector already stepped forward?”

“You don’t understand,” was his reply.  “All of these are isolated efforts, like the telephone system a hundred years ago.  They need to be tied together so that they work effectively.”

“I do understand,” I said.  “But why doesn’t the private sector build this infrastructure tying together all these great sources of clean energy creation?”

“Because of all the regulations blocking them,” was his answer.

“So you’re saying, aren’t you, that the problem isn’t too little government, it’s to much government?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying.  The government needs to bring them all together.”  (Always the government.)

My last word was that if Obama can cut the Code of Federal Regulations by 80%, freeing up money and ingenuity without using government money, he will be the greatest President in history.  I got a blank stare in response.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News