Monday, April 26, 2010

Get out of my oven!

Yesterday, while making dinner, I was hit by what has to be mommy government. I was roasting some potato planks in the oven when the thing decided that it had passed "normal broiling temperatures," and locked itself shut to cool down - with my potatoes inside and rapidly charring.

We pulled the manual out to look it up and discovered that this is one of those "built in safety features," that nobody really wants or is even aware of. I tried to research this and find out if there was some regulation in place, but one look at the various regs involving electric ovens and my eyes crossed.

Now I have no problem with reasonable safety regulations for the manufacture of an appliance. In fact, I am sure that some of those have prevented fires and serious injury. However, the idea that there is a "normal broiling temperature," which is not specified in the manual, is somewhat goofy.

I am certain that behind this is a set of government regulations and/or nonsense lawsuits. And that is where I draw a line on my kitchen tiles.

It is one thing to require that an installed electric oven have a tip-over preventing bracket. It is totally another to determine what is too hot. And yet another to not give me a way to override it.

I cannot say for certain that there is a government regulation involved, but I look at my charred potatoes as a metaphor for the ever-growing nanny state attitude that big government has. This is not a partisan thing. Looking at regulation dates, both parties have passed lots of silly regulations designed to protect us from ourselves.

Some of these make sense, like auto shut-off for gas appliances when the pilot goes out. Some are just plain invasive and not needed like locking my oven when it thinks it has gotten too hot. It is as if mommy government assumes we are all addled 6 year old children incapable of taking care of ourselves. The same government that cannot balance a budget, meet a deadline or answer a phone call.

The hazard of this nanny state thinking is obvious and scary. On the course we are now following, we will need government approval on the food we eat (salt content, fat content and so on), the TV we watch (V-chip), the clothes we wear (endless regulations), what we drive (CAFE standards), and so on. Mommy government wants to make sure that we cannot harm ourselves by accident and in the process is hobbling our ability to do anything.

The pending financial reform is a prefect example. There is a lot of good in there. Most of it deals with transparency for the investor. That is a good thing. The lack of transparency in derivatives was a part of what caused the "meltdown." However, there is a lot of not so good and some flat out bad.

The worst of it is the bailout fund. This in effect codifies and legitimizes "too big to fail." That is a very bad thing. It ensures that the biggest banks will be able to continue bad business practices and shaky investing with the comfort that mommy government will be there to pick up the pieces without penalty. By legitimizing the Paulson-Geithner-Bernanke lie about too big to fail, mommy government pretty much gives a pass to any large institution. Without the possibility of failure, success is meaningless.

After trillions of our dollars have been poured into this rat hole, Congress wants to set up a permanent payola plan for them. Instead of enforcing the existing laws and regulations, the plan appears to be to create new ones that do nothing different except create a pile of money that can be handed out with no review or authorization.

In the same way that my oven locked itself when it thought the temp was too high, this fund will pay out when some unaccountable administrator thinks the risks are too high for SELECTED companies. Right, selected. So if my company (admittedly tiny) is on the brink of failure, I am left out to dry. But if one of mommy government's selected favorites gets into trouble, they will have this money handed to them rather than pay the price of failure.

In case nobody is a student of history, Andrew Jackson vetoed the charter of the Second National Bank of the United States in 1832 with the following statement:

"Gentlemen, I have been watching you for a long time and I am convinced you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the bread staff of this country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you and when you lost you charged it to the bank."

History does repeat itself, and the bailout fund is just what Jackson railed against - socialization of the losses. In effect, preventing the largest banks from burning themselves, just like my oven.

Well, mommy government - stay out of my oven and get pout of the banking business. Let me burn my potatoes if it suits me and let the big banks fail if it suits them.

No comments:

Post a Comment