Much Better Than: You’re Fired!

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Trump has imposed a regulatory freeze and has threatened a hiring freeze – no new federal “workers” for now (and hopefully, some time to come).

No wonder the stock market is up.

America might just get back to work again.

Here’s another means toward that end that hopefully Trump will deploy: An executive order that henceforth, future regulations must pass a cost-benefit analysis and be subject to congressional approval before they could be imposed on the people who will bear the cost.

The EPA, for example, would have to demonstrate that whatever it proposes car buyers be saddled with in the form of new emissions equipment would result in a measurable benefit to real people – as opposed to moving decimals around “bins” and “tiers,” as as practice currently.

That, minimally, EPA bureaucrats would have to demonstrate – with facts, not conjecture – that failure to impose the proposed regulation would result in specific harms to actual people. As opposed to hypotheticals conjured by computer models or the mere say-so of EPA appartchiks.

Then Congress, in committee, could vote yea or nay.

Is this so outrageous… in a (ahem!) “democracy”?

Why shouldn’t the, er, people have a say?

Probably because it is a certainty that no regulation imposed (by fiat, without any accountability to the people of the country) by EPA over at least the past decade could pass muster.

It might be necessary to go back even farther, to the late 1980s.

That may well have been the last time EPA regulations – at least with respect to vehicle exhaust emissions – could have justified its fatwas, cost-benefit-wise.

Example: Three-way catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. You get a lot of bang for your buck. Double digit reductions in harmful stuff coming out of a car’s tailpipe. For a few hundred bucks per car. Arguably, worth it. This – along with the general adoption of basic electronic fuel injection systems in place of mechanical  carburetors – is what cleaned up the air. Which has been clean – that is, safe to breathe, not opaqued by smog – for several decades.

Contra example: EPA insisting that further fractional reductions be achieved but which can only be achieved via very expensive -and very elaborate – direct injection and other such technology. Much spent, not much gained.

Worse, actually.

Because DI creates its own set of problems (crud build-up on engine internals). The engines so equipped tend to run dirtier, sooner – unless they are serviced. Which can be very expensive as it often requires partial disassembly of the engine to get at the crud. Which they often aren’t, because of the cost.

And Direct Injected engines may not last as long, either. See above in re crud and putting off expensive service, due to cost of service.

In which case, new engines will be required – maybe a new car to go around it, too. These do not spring forth from the Earth without “environmental” consequences. It takes heavy equipment, land rape, forges, assembly lines, smokestacks and all the rest to make them anew. How much do you suppose this produces in “emissions” vs. the fractional per car tailpipe reduction achieved by DI?

So, how about hearings?

If EPA bureaucrats think some new fatwa is in order – for instance, this business of categorizing the inert, non-reactive gas carbon dioxide an “emission” subject to regulation –  why shouldn’t they be required to present their case to Congress? To prove that it is necessary else real harm will ensue? To the representatives of the people, who supposedly run the show but very obviously don’t?

Well?

Why not let the people – through their representatives – decide whether the proposed fatwa makes sense, after being presented with evidence. As opposed to being told they will obey – just because.
It’s not an unreasonable demand.

Trump could make it so. It is likely most of the public would support this – the remainder opposed being EPA apparatchiks incensed that their budgets might be threatened by an insistence that new regulations be justified on the merits as well as the economics.

It’s a crazy idea, I know.

But Trump is just the guy to try it on for size.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. May you live in interesting times , when you can go outside and smell the coal ash fallout and acid rain , you will know , you have arrived . This man is going to make Reagan and the astrologers look like an amateur.
    News flash , America is already great , the jobs that will be created will have little resemblance , to the ones outsourced by the “Plutocrats” and automation ( another little tidbit , most employers ( unless they are the gov’t ) don’t give you a job. The King of default reigns supreme now , lets hope He actually does some good with His tampering . ( who is going to harvest produce now for sub minimum wage ?)

    • Hi Kevin,

      The problem with regard to emissions is that the pendulum has swung to an extreme in the opposite direction. How “clean” is “clean” enough? Will it be 98.9 percent? Or must it be 99.2 percent?

      The EPA did the job it was tasked with doing. Now it is making work for itself. The VW case is a perfect example. The difference in output – “compliant” vs. “not compliant” is so small as to be irrelevant except as far as it counts as a “violation” of the rules.

      It’s analogous to the way “drunk driving” has gone from one extreme – it’s funny; one for the road! – to vicious and absurd – dragnet checkpoints and legally “drunk” with trace amounts of alcohol in one’s system.

    • But have you heard about the acid rain scare? They made all the coal fired power plants and steel mills, etc., put scrubbers on their stacks and the skies did clear up some, but the pH of the ground water did not change, because that’s just the way it is in western PA and West-by-God

  2. How ’bout individual buyers decide what is important to them, and them only?

    Whiny asses can look to their own interests with that…

    • Oh, we can’t have that. Then people will pick big cars with V8 and V6’s, SUV’s, pickups and muscle cars instead of Prius and Leafs with lots of airbags.

      Fun cars for only the elite as far as they are concerned. Or any personal car for that matter.

  3. What of the no harm principle? It is said computer-assisted driving (not quite self-driving) is capable sending the accident rate way down. If this can proven to be true than all cars should have this ability. Don’t like it? Then you were just kidding about that no harm talk.

    • The overriding question is how such a proposition can be proven. Secondarily, at what cost to whom?

      Can’t afford a computer-assisted driving car? Too bad, sucker. We’re so sorry you can no longer commute to your job.

      Harm comes in many different varieties.

  4. Great points Eric.

    Didn’t Nixon create the EPA through Executive Order (yes – so much for Republicans being “small government”)?

    If so – couldn’t Trump fire all their asses in exactly the same way?

    Now that this busybody agency is enforcing such serious topics as what you are “permitted” to do with the rainwater that falls on your own property.

    EFI would have come about as a result of the decreased cost of computing with or without the EPA “demanding” it by setting tough emissions goals.

    I despise it when people say “we never would have gotten (good thing) X without (important government agency) Y mandating it.”

    They don’t think past their next sentence.

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