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  • Tales of the Red Tape

    Tales of the Red Tape is a special series on The Foundry that exposes some of the more egregious federal regulations that have multiplied by an unprecedented degree in the past year.

    Tales of the Red Tape #9: Regulators Going Off on Microwave Ovens

    At the behest of Congress, the Department of Energy (DOE) has “invested” several years and considerable tax dollars in devising restrictions on the amount of electricity it takes to run virtually every household appliance. Alas, a regulator’s work is never done. Having assumed control over the energy we use to … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #8: How Many Hazmat Suits Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

    Lest anyone tell you that the phase-out of (non-toxic) incandescent light bulbs will be hassle-free (other than hugely expensive), here is the directive from the Environmental Protection Agency for ridding your home of toxic vapor in the event you or a loved one (or relative) breaks the mercury-laden compact fluorescent … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #7: Energy Department Plumbing for More Regulatory Powers

    Not satisfied with just regulating the design of air conditioners, battery chargers, boilers, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, dryers, freezers, furnaces, heat pumps, light bulbs, refrigerators, toilets, and washers, the U.S. Department of Energy is cracking down on shower heads. In the words of the federal plumbing police: “It has always … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #6: Equine Equality Under the ADA

    Every business must comply with a mind-boggling range of regulations, but the latest regulatory “guidance” on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may be the last straw—literally. Hotels, restaurants, airlines and the like must now modify “policies, practices, or procedures” to accommodate miniature horses as service animals. The new guidelines, … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #5: Calorie Counts Forced Down Our Throats

    You’re too fat, and vending machines are to blame. The government says so and is doing something about it. To temper the snack food cravings we are supposedly incapable of controlling, Congress is forcing vendors to post the calorie counts of vending machine items. Thus, we’ll supposedly pick the healthier … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #4: The Unwitting Peddlers of Toxic Tomes

    Pity the poor librarians. Those gentle custodians of the written word currently find themselves in a regulatory purgatory of sorts wherein compliance with hellish safety standards threatens to defy their hallowed purpose of providing books for all. It is a dilemma borne of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #3: Don't Touch That Dial!

    In the age of the TV remote and DVR, when viewers can adjust (or mute!) volume or skip commercials entirely without moving from the couch, it’s hard to fathom why Congress would consider it necessary to regulate the decibel levels of television advertising. But that’s precisely the purpose of the … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #2: The EPA is Fueling Nonsense

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is suffering policy schizophrenia. On the one hand, it has ordered automakers to increase fuel efficiency to save the planet from global warming. On the other hand, it is setting higher quotas of ethanol in gasoline, which will decrease fuel efficiency and increase emissions of … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #1: We See Dead People

    Images of bloodless corpses and gasping babies would have to cover at least 50 percent of each cigarette pack under regulation proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although smoking rates have declined steadily for the past 40 years—down 52 percent since 1965—and every kindergartner can recite the evils … More