Friday, July 2, 2010

Statism and Emissions (An open letter to Governor Otter)

Dear Governor Otter (an open letter),

I have voted for you in every general election since I was old enough to vote. Years, ago my vote was based simply upon the fact that Republicans, on the whole, typically stand for the principals of individual liberty and responsibility more so than the Democrats; I really did not know much about you beyond that. Since then I have put on a couple decades of knowledge and wisdom, and I must say that I am a bit confused, concerning your actions and inactions.

Back when you were a congressman you wrote a forward to a pamphlet by Ezra Taft Benson, “The Proper Role of Government.” I read this pamphlet for the first time several months ago and I was a bit surprised, after reading the very eloquent direct and liberty minded, that it was written by you. I would encourage you to go back and re-read your fine words, as well as the co-forward by Professor John T. Wenders (world renown University of Idaho economics professor), who I was fortunate enough to study under. I ask you to do this with hopes you will rediscover your once apparent, spirit of Jefferson and Madison. In this rediscovery I hope you will stand, and use your Constitutional power as Governor, and resist every attempt by the National government to dissolve our borders both as a state and nation. I ask you to stand and lead the good people of Idaho, rejecting every assault, no matter how small or apparently benevolent, to the Constitution and 10th Amendment particularly. I know you are a good man, worthy of the power entrusted to you, now it is time to wield that power against the statists in DC. Was the reason you were born and given your blessings of office, to simply manage highway funding, or was it to help save America?

Pep talk aside, I would like you to consider throwing your weight around on a “small” issue with big implications to our states lower and middle class counties. A few months back Canyon County was forced (kicking and screaming) to comply with emissions testing on cars and trucks. Was it a coincidence this mandate happened during the worst economy of our lives? I would like you to consider the wealth represented in real dollars (as real as a paper dollar is anyway) that is being taken from our citizens not just in the fees to comply with the testing but in lost productivity, loss of other scarce funds, and loss in asset value.

Keeping a long topic relatively short, each person and business must take time from business or leisure and spend it complying with this regulation; this is a loss to the economy; subjective but tangible. Also consider the thousands of cars that do not pass, these ridiculous standards, either due to a particulate count or a check engine light (automatic fail). Each one of these un-needed repairs, usually no less than $200 and often $1000, is an assault on the very scarce funds available. What’s more, most of the cost of repairs goes directly to Detroit or where ever the parts are manufactured…money leaving the state! Another “unintended consequence” to this statist law is the evaporation of “real” wealth represented in the value of the thousands and thousands of cars valued under $2000. Consider many of these older modern cars have ECM’s engine control modules, in other words a computer an old computer. These computers malfunction and send error messages for stupid reasons; most owners of older cars simply live with the light on because you would be in the mechanic every week. Now consider if you have a check engine light on, and you wish to trade your car in, and the dealer knows it can not be licensed with that light on, and it will likely cost $1000 to fix it. Will they reduce the trade in value? They must. This scenario represents hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in evaporated asset value in Canyon County alone. What will the National government do to remedy this? Likely another “Cash for Clunkers” program, one funded by the next generation; funded by those too young to vote. In this scenario again, money is leaving the state, due to a mandate from the National government, enriching the union companies in Detroit. I am convinced this is not by accident.

One could also apply the same thinking to many other National government mandated laws, like lead based paint certification, air conditioning refrigerant mandates and on and on. I ask you Butch to fight the small fight as well as the big ones. Every mandate is a liberty lost, and every mandate by the National government outside of their seventeen Constitutional powers, our republic of federated states fades.

Walt Holton

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