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Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | Stacy Abrams: Worried About Inflation and Rising Gas Prices? The Answer Is Simple: Have Abortions!
October 19, 2022

Wednesday Morning Rant [Joe Mannix]



When facing a hugely difficult problem or complex of problems, it isn't uncommon to get caught up in minutiae instead. It lets you feel like you're solving problems without having to tackle the complicated, painful major problems that you might be unable or unwilling to solve. At a small scale, it's easy to see this. Someone going broke will cut out his $140/month fancy coffee habit but the real problem is the $600 car payment and the $2,500 mortgage payment on his $3,500 take-home salary.

This also happens in government and there is a prime example of it in California. About a year ago, there were stories in the press about certain gaming-oriented PCs being banned from sale in California and a few other (deep blue) states. The reason for the ban is California's energy efficiency regulations for appliances. Those high-end, power-hungry gaming PCs were locked out of the market in those states. For the environment and to save energy.

This is a great example of getting caught up in the minutiae rather than trying to solve the actual problems. The problems of "why don't we have enough energy" or "why is energy so expensive" or "how do we accommodate new grid demand" and the like are really hard to solve. They're even harder to solve if you're constrained by a budget and harder still if you are ideologically required to make the problems worse..

Regulations like this one - or the CA rules around stuff like gas-powered generators and yard equipment - do absolutely nothing. They're bad for the residents who want to buy what they want and they also don't do anything to fix the problems they're supposed to fix. They do, however, let politicians feel good about "doing something" about the problems and then gloat about it, even if it's expensive and ineffective. They can all pat themselves on the back about how environmentally-friendly they are and slap fines on anyone who violates their asinine new rules, all while the problems remain.

And what are they doing at the same time? Making the problems worse. You can't have an inefficient, power-gulping gaming PC, but you must have a power-gulping electric stove now that gas appliances are banned. You can't have an energy-inefficient clothes dryer but you can - indeed, you must (eventually) get an electric car. They keep sniping at the margins while ignoring - or compounding - the real problems that are making energy scarce and expensive. The same people who decreed that you can't have a high-power computer also decree that electric vehicles must be mandatory in the near future.

They are blind to (or merely refuse to tackle) the real problems, so they lard up another layer of bureaucratic control, declare victory and do it again when it becomes clear that victory wasn't achieved. Forget the big, difficult stuff and go after the little, easy stuff that only pisses off little, easy people.

It's the way of government.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:00 AM

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