‘Everything, all the time.” That’s how the Eagles once described life in the fast lane. Those words now epitomize Big Government in the Obama era.
Obama maintains a southern “border” that deserves those sneer quotes. He let cyber attackers seize the personnel records of some 22 million federal workers. And in his spectacularly dysfunctional Veterans Affairs system, combat vets literally drop dead waiting for medical care while corrupt staffers shred patients’ files to cover up their toxic incompetence and lassitude.
Despite this mind-blowing incapacity to perform core functions, Obama’s minions stay busy, busy, busy doing everything, all the time, everywhere else. Consider these examples of their micro-mismanagement:
On page 30 of a 101-page document titled “Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Automatic Commercial Ice Makers,” the U.S. Department of Energy announces that it will “require that the ice hardness factor, as defined in AHRI Standard 810-2007 with Addendum 1, be calculated, except that it shall reference the corrected net cooling effect per pound of ice . . . using seasoned, block ice.”
Furthermore, “The ice hardness factor will be used to determine an adjustment factor based on the energy required to cool ice from 70° F to 32° F and produce a given amount of ice, as shown in the following:”
And this is not just academic. It’s the law. The “Final rule” demands: “These values will be reported to DOE to show compliance with the energy conservation standard.”
The federal dishwasher police recently chopped allowable water use from five gallons per cycle to 3.1, a 52 percent reduction. “Manufacturers cannot compensate for less water by pumping the water through higher-pressure nozzles because the energy use is also restricted,” former U.S. representative Ernest Istook (R., Okla.) explained in the Washington Times. “The 2012 regulation reduced energy usage to 307 kilowatt-hours per year for a standard washer. The 2015 proposal drops that to 234 kWh/year.” Despite the DOE’s 24 percent energy cut, consumers could wind up using more power, as they re-run machines to scour not-quite-clean dishes. They also would be likely to use more water to pre-rinse dishes destined for politically correct, but emasculated, dishwashers.
Even the DOE recognizes that this costs money. These new edicts will boost each dishwasher’s price by $99. Also, the new mandate states, “DOE expects that manufacturers may lose up to 34.7 percent of their INPV [industry net present value], which is approximately $203.7 million.” Translation: Pay cuts, layoffs, and outsourcing.
As Cato Institute scholar Chris Edwards notes in his paper “Why the Federal Government Fails,” the National Park Service produced a 2,400-page study on dog-walking options – not from coast to coast, but solely in the Golden Gate Recreation Area. What, possibly, could anyone say, at such length – it would consume as much paper as the entire text of Obamacare – about canine exercise in one park?
Michelle Obama has become America’s K-12 chef-in-chief. Her federally mandated recipes are awful.
“Students have been caught bringing – and even selling – salt, pepper, and sugar in school to add taste to perceived bland and tasteless cafeteria food,” John S. Payne, an Indiana school official testified before Congress in June. As if creating a black market for spices were not enough, federal nutrition rules have killed school bake sales, and “whole-grain items and most of the broccoli end up in the trash.”
As educator Lynn Harvey stated, “This product dissatisfaction has contributed to a decline in breakfast participation in 60 percent of North Carolina’s school districts.”
Obama recently decreed that the maximum annual income at which employees would be subject to overtime-pay requirements would rise from $23,000 to $52,000. Many of those who enjoy salaries, benefits, and management roles soon will punch clocks, often without benefits. Under revised federal “Duties Tests,” companies must tally managers’ hours on specific activities. It would be easier to drop them from management. How will businesses pay for all of this? Obama couldn’t care less.
A new IRS regulation fines small companies $100 daily per employee reimbursed, partially or fully, for buying individual health insurance. Rather than spend time and money purchasing group coverage, some employers simply pay workers to acquire their own plans. Instead of applauding such generosity, Obama’s taxocrats recently began hammering employers $36,500 annually for each such employee.
As the Galen Institute’s Grace-Marie Turner explains, companies could slash that penalty by 94.5 percent by furnishing neither insurance nor reimbursement. The zero-coverage penalty is just $2,000 per employee. So, small employers will run these cruel numbers and give their staffers nothing.
This is not just stupid. It’s sadistic.
Washington also subsidizes Planned Parenthood, America’s go-to source for limbs, internal organs, and even decapitated heads – all pried from the bodies of aborted babies, as the Center for Medical Progress has documented. It’s revolting enough that such barbarity happens in a reputedly civilized country. Even worse, just last year, taxpayers underwrote this mayhem to the tune of $528 million.
The Obama administration is utterly out of control. Claude Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes that no one knows how many federal agencies boss Americans around. FOIA.gov lists 252 such bureaucracies. The Federal Register counts 257. The United States Government Manual cites 316.
Meanwhile, the $4.1 trillion federal budget finances a soft totalitarianism in which Team Obama fails miserably at the big stuff, yet barks orders about the most molecular matters – with a dash of subsidized butchery, to boot.
Obama & Co. should downshift and try life in the slow lane.
A version of this piece previously appeared on National Review Online.