Unintended Consequences of Government Regulation

The Tan Tax

I haven’t tanned in years, because well, I just hadn’t thought much about it. I was in motherhood survival mode until last fall, and any precious childless minutes I had were spent working, keeping house, on a date with my husband, or reading Sookie Stackhouse novels. Tanning wasn’t exactly a priority.

Now that summer is fast (fast!) approaching, I decided to find a salon and just go. No judgment, you Judgey McJudgersons! We all have our vices, mmmkay? Anyway, I found a place near my house that looked great, so I checked it out. After meeting the people and touring the place, I decided to give it a go. Then came the forms.

“Do you understand you’re saturating your skin with UV light?”

Yes.

“Do you agree not to sue us if you get skin cancer and die?”

Yes. All bets are off if I burst into flames though.

“Do you agree to pay the 10% tax imposed by the PPACA, effective July 1, 2010?”

Um … I actually have to sign for that?

The girl at the counter entering my information pointed to it and said, “You can thank President Obama for that one.”

“Oh yeah, I know,” I said, “I work in politics, I know all about Obamacare.”

“Well, I don’t know if you are, but I’m not a fan.”

“Not even a little. Go Mitt Romney!”

“Better than Obama!”

“Let me guess, you’re the owner?”

“Yup.”

“Obviously.”

Then I finished the forms and got my tan on in the form of warm artificial light emitted into a space age looking tube while I wore weird goggles and tuned out to some willowy spa music. It was almost relaxing enough to forget about Obamacare, but it really irritated me that he raised taxes on tanning salons consumers who frequent a particular business.

Unintended Consequence of Taxing a Business: They pass along the cost to the consumer in order to make ends meet.

The Spare Tire Scam

I was flipping through AAA’s Westways magazine looking for some local daytrip ideas for the kiddos this summer when an article titled Where’s the Spare caught my eye. The article pointed out that 13% of 2011 model cars came with no spare tire, but with a ‘fix-it’ kit instead.

The kit contains a can of sealant and a small air compressor, and is completely useless in the case of sidewall punctures. If you have a tread puncture, you’ll be able to re-inflate and seal the tire, which will be good to drive on for about 25 miles before screwing you over. So good luck if you blow one in the middle of the desert or something.

Where have the spares gone? Is this a ploy from the car companies to cut costs and make themselves richer? Nope. According to the article:

To meet increasingly stringent government-mandated fuel-economy standards—an average of 34.1 mpg by 2016—automaker engineers sweat over removing mere ounces from vehicles. Losing 40 pounds of tire, wheel, and tools is a godsend toward that effort.

Unintended Consequence of Saving the Planet: Potentially stranding people in the middle of nowhere, where they may or may not have cell service to call for help.

Here’s the Thing

Just because something sounds like a good idea doesn’t mean that it is. Discouraging people to tan indoors might sound like a good idea to the pale ones, but it just hurts small businesses. Saving the environment by requiring cars to run on less gasoline sounds like a good idea to the tree huggers, but it results in the loss of a spare tire. What’s next – thinner metal that can more easily be ripped to shreds in an accident?

Or maybe we should all just sit inside our un-air-conditioned houses, yelling at TV about how everything is George Bush’s fault, leaving only to go buy organic lettuce with our EBT cards or to see the doctor (without ever seeing a bill). We’ll get there in our government-mandated Smart car, because it wouldn’t be fair to ‘smart’ drivers if big gnarly SUVs and trucks were on the road. They might squash them, plus, you know, pollution.

Oy, that sounds awful. Give me my UV tan, my spare tire, my soda, my salt, my AC, my freedom to make my own choices any day of the week.

No one is forcing anyone to give up his or her spare tire for better gas mileage. Oh wait … the government is.

Top 7 for the Week of March 16th

This week, Ashley and I talked about:

  1. It’s All that CO2 Making You Fat
  2. The Health Care War on Women (Hint – It’s not the Republicans depriving women of care)
  3. Gas Prices Are Up & the Cost of Living Skyrockets
  4. 50 Shades of Grey (Jenny talks about Twilight fan fiction mom-rotica, and Ashley asks, “What’s BDSM?”)
  5. Your Middle East Update
  6. The Obama Campaign’s 17-Minute Documentary
  7. Did Google+ Ruin Google?

Plus we have a rant, a Dude of the Week, and instead of a dirty joke, we have a pickle tasting party. Not a euphemism.

Happy listening!

Listen to internet radio with Top 7 on Blog Talk Radio

Elsewhere on the Internet

So this is late. I try to post these weekly round-ups on Sunday or Monday, depending on how my weekend goes, and it is now Wednesday night. So late on Wednesday night, in fact, that’s it’s actually Thursday morning on the East coast. What can I say? It’s summertime, which in Mom World is crazytime. The kids are home all day long. They are hungry all day long. They are bored all day long. Actually, kids in my house are never bored, or at least they never voice it, because if they do, they find themselves staring at toilet with a scrub brush in their hand. Nothing cures boredom quite like scrubbing a toilet!

And that’s the kind of mom I am. Interestingly, I just got off the phone with a single girlfriend, with whom I shared a story from the beach today. One of my kiddos was carelessly kicking sand on people, and needed to be corrected. “See?” She said, “This is why I can never have kids. I’d probably kick sand on them and ask, ‘How does that feel?’”

“Um … what do you think I did?”

And that’s the kind of mom I am. The kind of mom whose kids don’t carelessly kick sand on other people.

Anyway, I wrote some stuff last week! And you should totally click on it and maybe even read it. Otherwise you might find yourself staring a toilet with a scrub brush in your hand.

President Obama gave a little speech about the debt limit. It was riddled with blatant untruths. I narrowed down the top nine.

Speaking of President Obama, do you know that he signed a bill that authorized $50 million of your hard-earned money to put guns in the hands of dangerous Mexican drug lords? Because he totally did. Oh, and Attorney General Eric Holder lied about it.

I also mocked global warming scare tactics and possibly polar bears. Because polar bears would totally eat me, given the chance.

Happy reading!

Tax on Electric Cars Makes No Sense

Washington State has spent a lot of effort over the past few years enticing people to buy electric cars over old school gas-guzzlers. In addition to a tax incentive from the federal government, the state has exempted sales tax on the purchase of electric vehicles. In other words, it’s a great deal to buy a car that uses less gas.

People buy hybrid or electric cars for one of two reasons: To save money or to appear cool. People that actually want to save the planet ride bikes, not drive coal-powered cars.

To the hipsters, a tax on electric vehicles might not be a huge issue. These people might even feel that paying higher taxes for the privilege of driving a Prius makes them even cooler.

Read the rest at The Stir

Rising Food & Gas Prices Are Taxes in Disguise

I just filled up my gas tank and I didn’t want to cry — I actually did cry. At $4 per gallon, it cost me nearly a c-note to fill up my mid-size SUV. That’s not for the fancy high-octane stuff either; we’re talking regular unleaded.

We don’t have room in our budget to increase the amount of money we spend on gas, so this means we’ll be doing a lot less driving. Fewer trips to visit friends in neighboring cities, no running back to the store for that one thing we forgot, and definitely no drives through the countryside.

I’ve had to do a lot of economizing in the kitchen too, as the price of food has been going up and up. The First Lady likes to tout the benefits of organic rabbit food (which, by the way, children would rather throw away than eat), but she’s not the one trying to pay for it on a modest salary.

Organic farming is much more expensive than farming with pesticides. Without pesticides, there’s nothing to kill the hungry bugs in the fields, which means that actual people need to be employed to keep the produce from being chomped to the vine by the creepy-crawlers. Employing people to care for the plants in organic farms is much more expensive than hiring a crop-duster once or twice a season.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the cost of organic food, but all food that has climbed in recent months and years. In fact, food prices rose more last month than they have in 36 years.

Read the rest at The Stir

High Gas Prices Make Me Want to Cry

This past weekend, my hubby and I decided to drag the kids to Costco after church on Sunday. We’re obviously masochists, I know. Our Costco has a gas station that sells fuel for about $.25 less per gallon than the average local station. When we pulled into the parking lot, the lines for these discount pumps were eight and nine cars deep.

People were waiting for half an hour or more to pay $3.75 per gallon of gas. I just hope they weren’t letting their engines idle — that sort of defeats the purpose. By the time we waded through the crowd in the warehouse store with our 12-pack of chicken breasts and so-cute-we-had-to-buy-them matching pajamas for the girls and were on our way home, the price of unleaded had gone up to $3.77.

Supply, demand, and speculation over the woes in the Middle East have contributed to some pretty pricey gasoline. Let’s face it: There’s a limited amount of oil in the world, more countries are developing industrially, and the place most everyone gets their oil from is, for better or worse, in the midst of a revolution.

Of course the cost of energy is going to go up. It’s written in The Law of Common Sense, right in between “what goes up must come down,” and “never stare down the barrel of a shotgun.” (You can find this book in the ‘Welcome Newbies’ section of the Republican bookstore, along with Facts Are Not Hard and A Convenient Truth.)

Read more at The Stir

Low-Flush Toilets Cause Stink in San Francisco

Low-flush toilets are ridiculous. The concept is good, especially inCalifornia where water is in high demand and short supply. But the practicality of water-saving toilets is non-existent.

Once upon a time, people did their business in buckets or holes in the ground. Fancy rich people used decorated chamber pots, and they employed people to empty them. I’d like to see Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowetackle that task. Actually, I take that back. I have no desire to watch anyone clean out a chamber pot. Ever.

Then someone brilliant invented flushing toilets with the revolutionary U-bend, which kept the smell of the sewers from coming up through the bowl. Within a century, toilets as we know them today became commonplace in developed countries.

Add the invention of Charmin Ultra-Soft, and toileting became a much more pleasant task than it had once been.

In 1994, Congress decided that water was too precious of a commodity to waste flushing waste, so anew law was put into effect mandating low-flush toilets. Where toilets once used up to seven gallons a flush, the new law made it illegal for toilets using more than 1.6 gallons a flush to be sold in the United States.

And people have been flushing three times for number two ever since.

Read the rest at The Stir

Jenny Erikson Radio Show – Episode 0008

In which I am joined by Not Evil Just Wrong‘s Ann McElhinney and Chris Barnhart of Chris is Right.

Obama Grants Special Exemption to General Electric

When I was little, my mama always taught me that actions speak louder than words. Co-opting a phrase from the most widely owned and read book in the world, she told me that I would be able to discern a tree by the fruit it bore.

In other words, talk is cheap.

I’ve been reminded of this so often over the past couple of years while watching the Obama administration. Barack Obama claimed to be forbetter education, and then he ended the DC voucher program. He said he wouldn’t hire lobbyists, and then he hired lobbyists. He said he wanted make sure every American had health insurance, then he gavewaivers to businesses so they wouldn’t have to provide health insurance for their employees. Anyone else notice a trend?

The latest round of hypocrisy has to do with energy. In 2008, then-Senator Obama vowed to implement a cap and trade law that would limit carbon emissions and ‘necessarily skyrocket’ energy costs. Unable to pass cap & tax through congress, President Obama has decided to do whatever he wants anyway by expanding EPA regulation. Since I’m remembering phrases from my childhood, ‘more than one way to skin a cat’ comes to mind.

For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency will regulate greenhouse gases from power plants and other major polluters — which will stifle growth, kill jobs, and raise the cost of electricity. But if you’re lucky, a polar bear will come hug you. Polar bear hugs are far superior to being able to turn on your heat in the middle of a snowpocalypse.

Read the rest at The Stir

California Bans ‘Evil’ 100 Watt Light Bulbs

In a move that’s crazy even for California, the land of fruits and nuts isbanning 100-watt incandescent light bulbs. We have to save Santa from global warming, after all. Starting January 1, 2011, California will begin a yearlong phase-out of the offensive bulbs, emptying store shelves of them by 2012.

The other forty-nine states will follow next year. In 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act was enacted to ‘Save the Earth.’ It bans the production, sale, or use of 100-watt incandescent bulbs across the country by the year 2014. Because people aren’t smart enough to make their own decisions about how to light their homes.

Many people will choose to replace their evil incandescent light bulbs with those curly compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). According to the government, it’s better to potentially expose your children to mercury than to use a tiny bit of extra energy. CFLs contain mercury, and most be disposed of at a toxic waste facility.

Read the rest at The Stir