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Gas Stoves: News Miner 40
I realize there’s a lot going on in the state that I have not yet discussed here. I’m also working hard on my book project and managing homeschooling. As Scotty always said, I’m giving ‘er all she’s got! Here are some notes about my recent columns.
The Political Attack on Gas Stoves
Complete Colorado published my column, “Cooking with gas, if the government lets you.” I discuss rumblings about a possible national ban on new gas stoves, the motivation behind the political attack on gas stoves, the health debate, and the Colorado politics of the debate. Here are a few selections:
People concerned with economic liberty might wonder how we got to a place in the “land of the free” where unelected federal bureaucrats may dictate to us what we may or may not buy for our personal hobbies (considering the case of the magnets) and how we may cook our food. Congress has shamefully evaded its responsibilities in such matters by granting a bureaucratic agency such vast illegitimate powers. . . .
You might not want to use a gas stove if someone in the house has asthma or is prone to it, and if you use a gas stove you probably should make sure it’s well-ventilated. Those are reasonable conclusions, and hence completely uninteresting to the would-be banners. . . .
In short, the message from the left is something like, “Look at those right-wing crazies claiming government is coming for your gas stoves! Also, thank goodness government is coming for your gas stoves.”
Read the entire piece.
Behind the Legislative Curtain
Complete Colorado also published my column, “How the Colorado legislature plans to ‘help’ you.” Here are some excerpts:
In myth, the citizens direct government by electing wise representatives and by closely monitoring what those lawmakers are up to. In reality, hardly anyone knows what the legislature is up to in any detail. The legislators themselves cannot hope to master all the bills proposed, never mind all the existing statutes that they are charged with overseeing. At most, a regular person—someone with a job or a family—can closely follow a few of the many bills proposed. . . .
Because hardly anyone follows a given bill, the people who tend to drive the political discussion surrounding a bill tend to be part of an interest group directly affected by it. Here you should be familiar with the phrase from Public Choice economics, “concentrated benefits, dispersed costs.” Many bills subsidize or give regulatory support to a small group of people and impose the costs widely. The few people who benefit are strongly motivated to see the bill passed, whereas the many people shouldering the costs typically lack the incentive even to become aware of the issue.
That is not always the dynamic at play. Sometimes legislators from one party or ideological camp target a specific group of people outside their coalition—such as property owners, drug users, gun owners, or transgender people—because that lets them feel morally superior, makes them popular with their base, and helps them with fundraising.
Read the entire piece.