Monday, January 31, 2011

Spilled Milk

Holy cow! Thomas Sowell's column tomorrow raises the issue of the EPA's latest power grab. Yes, it really is about spilled milk.

We all understand why the Environmental Protection Agency was given the power to issue regulations to guard against oil spills, such as that of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska or the more recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But not everyone understands that any power given to any bureaucracy for any purpose can be stretched far beyond that purpose.

In a classic example of this process, the EPA has decided that, since milk contains oil, it has the authority to force farmers to comply with new regulations to file "emergency management" plans to show how they will cope with spilled milk, how farmers will train "first responders" and build "containment facilities" if there is a flood of spilled milk.

Milk has oil? Who knew???

Oh wait. I guess the EPA knew. And now their regulations will raise the price of milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, whipped cream, and ice cream. But it'll be worth it, because we'll be safe from... I'll let Sowell explain:

Does anyone seriously believe that any farmer is going to spill enough milk to compare with the Exxon Valdez oil spill or the BP oil spill?

Do you envision people fleeing their homes, as a flood of milk comes pouring down the mountainside, threatening to wipe out the village below?

It doesn't matter. Once the words are in the law, it makes no difference what the realities are. The bureaucracy has every incentive to stretch the meaning of those words, in order to expand its empire.

A long time ago, probably in the late 1970s, I saw the movie, The King of Hearts. It's set during World War I, when a British army private is sent into a French town to disarm a German bomb, and the Brits speak English, the Germans speak German (with English subtitles), and the French speak French (with English subtitles). But what the hapless private doesn't realize is that right before he entered the town, it was evacuated. Except for the insane asylum, whose inhabitants leave the asylum and pose as the regular townspeople. He has no idea, so he interacts with them as though they're normal.

That sort of thing is delightful to watch on a big screen. Throughout the madness, in the back of your mind you know it will end and you'll be going home where sanity reigns.

But it's distressing to know that the lunatics now have the power to regulate and control, to coerce and punish. If they have the power to regulate milk as though it's crude oil, there's no telling how far the draconian regulations will spread into all areas of our lives.

Stop the madness! (I just wish I knew how.)


Bekah said...

Wow. I would say more words if I had them but all I'm coming up with is wow.

Delta said...

Perhaps they'll add milk and milk products into the Health Care Bill they will have to re-write. We will then get to use ration cards just for a scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day. (wistfully longing for a hot summer day).

The worst part - having to give up a days rationing of gasoline just to enjoy an ice cream. In compliance with the new Health Care Bill, you have to walk in order to work off that evil frozen concoction's calories.

GULP. It would be funny if it weren't remotely even possible.

Malott said...

This is a great post... But halfway through it I was furious. Is there a better example of the over-reach of the federal government, stepping in and taking away freedom?

How far are we from the tipping point? This is the kind of thing riots and burning buildings are made of... And elections like last November's.