Regulation? Yay or Nay.

I often question the government’s involvement in society. There seems to be so much waste, ineffectiveness, and often special interests, especially at a federal level. I highly value the ability to make choices because I perceive them to be beneficial for myself and for others. When an entity (such as the government) requires me to do something for the benefit of others it deflates my sails a bit.

While reading this week, my thoughts were all over the place. One moment I would be like, “absolutely we should do that so future earth isn’t a shitty place.” A moment later I would think, “well if I agree to this I can kiss another piece of my happiness goodbye.”

Looking at carbon emissions from a health/environmental impact the same way we do with cigarettes, and taxing them similarly, seemed like a rational and fair approach. Removing energy subsidies to level the playing field for all forms of energy – yes, please. Then I started reading about regulation, and how we need a system overhaul to efficiently regulate and track carbon emissions and water usage. In theory, this seemed like it had the legs to streamline processes and make the reporting less burdensome, but the US government’s track record of accomplishing this is very short. I didn’t have much faith in its ability to be implemented. I figured, in writing the legislation, politicians would figure out a way to bloat the program.

Then I read State of Washington house bills 1662 and 2684. 1662 deals with regulating greenhouse gas emissions and 2684 deals with design-build construction of transportation projects. Both were encouraging in their own way. It was good to see, at a state level, legislation being written detailing how to appropriately regulate business in regards to carbon emissions. What was especially encouraging to me though was at the end of bill 2684:
“When the department of transportation shifts to utilizing a design-build approach for all of its construction projects, it is clear that the current staffing levels at the department will be unnecessary. Therefore, the department is directed to develop a plan to reduce the size of its engineering and technical workforce to a level commensurate with its role of planning and overseeing the efficient functioning of the state’s transportation system.” (House Bill 2684)
It is encouraging to see legislation meaningfully addressing our future needs (HS 1662) and legislation be mindful of excessive government spending (HS 2684). It is the creativity in both these bills which helps confirm to me what AP discussed in her book regarding regulatory change being feasible and scalable. In summation I say Yay.


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