Quit Aiming for the Ankles

It may seem like small potatoes at a time of political lawfare, gross government mismanagement leading to at least 1,000 dead in Maui, the prospect of continuing war in Ukraine, and high inflation, but the government’s use of its powers to beset us on a daily basis and make life more expensive, less efficient, and more dreary is evident every day. Two things that come to mind -- and there are, I concede, many more -- are urban bike lanes and administrative fiddling with everything from light bulbs to home appliances. In my neighborhood we have an online site, Next Door, which I avoid like the plague as it is a bulletin board for dimwitted Karens and organized leftists. The last time I went there, I questioned the merit of setting aside bike lanes on the few major thoroughfares in our city. Because of the siting of historic buildings in D.C., widening traffic lanes is quite impossible.

City leaders set aside a major lane for a streetcar which cost a fortune, travels but a few blocks and that no one uses. Adding bike lanes to all this makes traffic even more congested and slower moving, spewing more fumes into the air, and encourages drivers to seek alternate routes through the city which were not meant to carry a lot of traffic. The Bikeazis (my term for an organized group of pro biking people entitled because of their self-anointed moral objection to cars) struck. About the same time they were attacking my objection, the city created a bike lane in a near neighborhood without consulting the people who lived there. Residents banded together and succeeded in getting it dismantled. Not surprisingly they objected to the large stream of drivers diverting unto the narrow roads not meant to handle such traffic, creating more pollution, noise, and endangering kids and other pedestrians who use those streets.

So I was delighted to see the satire site Babylon Bee prick the Bikeazi bubble:

SEATTLE, WA — In a statement delivered to a line of 100 drivers who had been stuck behind him for the past 3 hours, local bicyclist Florian Skuzz said that he wants to be treated just like a car on the road, but also to just kinda be able to break the rules whenever he wants to. 

"I'm an important bicyclist deserving your respect, and should be granted all the rights and privileges of a car at all times!" said Skuzz to the parade of honking automobiles behind him. "But also, I don't carry insurance for when I cause an accident and would like to disregard traffic lights and signs whenever I want. It is my divine right! NOW STARE AT MY SPANDEXED BUTT FOR THE NEXT 30 MILES AND LIKE IT!" 

The man then continued riding directly in the middle of the road at 15 miles per hour even though the speed limit was 65. 

Sources say Skuzz then ran three traffic lights and stopped once to adjust his GoPro for the next video on his YouTube channel in which he posts videos about being an insufferable bicyclist. "I am saving the planet with this bike!" he yelled to the cars behind him. "RESPECT ME!" 

Just as these groups create unnecessary costs and tribulations to most of us, the Biden administration’s war on everyday conveniences out of misplaced obeisance to the Sky Dragon (climate change) is infuriating, costly, and senseless, unless it is intended as a plan to make our lives more expensive and miserable. 

On August 1, the Administration decreed it is illegal to sell the incandescent bulbs which most of us use (and have used for 140 years) and which are cheap. You can only sell LED bulbs or compact fluorescent light bulbs. Like Grant running through Richmond, the administrative state is running though our homes, mandating more expensive and less efficient household items.

“Light bulb efficiency standards became a symbol in some Republicans’ resistance to expansion of the regulatory state,” said Alex Flint, executive director for the conservative Alliance for Market Solutions. “But manufacturers’ recognition that there were better products and consumer tastes were changing made this much more complicated than some of the political debates.”

The fight zigged, then zagged: The Obama administration took action in its waning days to finalize the bulb efficiency requirements, only for former President Donald Trump -- who once proclaimed energy-efficient bulbs made him “look orange” -- to halt the move. But DOE pushed the rules to the finish line last year after President Joe Biden came into office with a climate agenda that includes a focus on energy efficiency measures.

DOE completed the action last April, but full enforcement of the rule is set to begin Aug. 1. The transition away from the inefficient bulbs has been underway for more than a year, as the department provided flexibility for manufacturers and retailers to comply with the new standard.

That fight may be settled, but the larger fight over energy efficiency standards is still looming. Republican lawmakers in recent months have continually derided the Biden administration’s efficiency actions on everything from more efficient stoves to laundry machines and dishwashers. 

As" Republican lawmakers… continually derided the Biden administrations efficiency actions,” this week the administration added yet another sacrifice to the Sky Dragon -- ceiling fans. At an estimated cost to producers of these fans of $107 and $86 million to consumers, the Administration is requiring new fans meet higher efficiency standards. Once again, the defenders of this overreach pad the benefits to be obtained and minimize the cost to consumers. At the same time, the beneficiaries are large corporations, you know, the kind of companies from whom -- like unions -- the Democrats count on for political contributions.

The House panel presented the rules as burdensome to ceiling fan manufacturers, particularly smaller ones. 

“This proposed rule would decrease the maximum estimated energy consumption permissible for large diameter and belt driven ceiling fans,” committee Republicans wrote. “This rule would require numerous small business fan manufacturers to redesign their products and may put between 10 and 30 percent of small business ceiling fan manufacturers out of business. It appears that the Department of Energy may not have properly considered small entities during this rulemaking process.”

An Energy Department spokesperson told The Hill this aspect has been mischaracterized, saying in an email that the one-time total conversion cost would be about $107 million for all manufacturers.

“The incremental cost to consumers is $86.6 million annually, while the operating cost savings are $281 million annually -- both at a 7 percent discount rate,” the spokesperson said. “The savings are more than triple the incremental costs.”

When I was a young lawyer, an older, smart, experienced litigation lawyer gave me this advice, “Don’t aim for the ankles, kick higher up.” That’s my advice to House Republicans. Start dismantling and defunding the out-of-control Administrative state.

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