Friday, December 10, 2010

It's the Regulations, Stupid

More data for my assertion that it's not interest rates and taxes that are killing us ...

On Tuesday, my dad and I stopped by a place where you buy soil in bulk. Topsoil, ground bark, gravel, they had it all, along with a single dump truck they used to deliver large orders to big projects. The owner told us that the truck was a 2001 model. The EPA had recently told him that the truck needed to have a completely new engine because the current engine's emissions were too great. The cost of replacing the engine was going to be $70,000.

EPA regulations, not high interest rates or onerous taxes, were going to cost him $70,000 to replace a perfectly good engine on a perfectly good truck. The guy sells dirt for a living. Where's he going to get $70,000? Meanwhile, in China and India, hundreds of thousands of far dirtier engines were pouring emissions into our common atmosphere.

The EPA was going to force him to spend $70,000 in exchange for absolutely nothing.

Ben Bernanke is going to print $600B to save the economy. The Republicans are going to give you a couple hundred dollars in tax breaks to save the economy. God only knows what Barack Obama thinks he's doing to save the economy. Meanwhile, a guy who sells dirt was getting a pointless $70,000 engine replacement shoved down his throat by a bureaucracy that didn't even know he existed.

You know all those entitlements we love? Who's going to pay them when this guy goes out of business?

We'd all be better off if this was replaced with a rickshaw. Green jobs at good wages!

4 comments:

tim eisele said...

Urg. So basically, the regulation means that he has to choose between replacing a truck engine, or employing one person for a year.

Although, this means that he is paying one employee of the diesel engine manufacturer for a year, so the employment could be considered a wash. Still, selling dirt and gravel (and, indeed, most mining activity) is on a thin enough margin that these things get to really hurt.

A more gradual switchover on the diesel engines would probably be better, like the way that we got away from leaded gasoline.

K T Cat said...

Tim, it's worse than that. If he fires someone, it's going to have to be someone vital to the business. He didn't have more than a handful of employees and getting $70K would probably require him to fire two. Once he reduces his workforce, how is he going to fill orders? Those two fired people weren't just standing around.

As for the new business for the engine building, if that worked, then the government should come into our houses and order us to change our major appliances every two years whether they needed it or not. How many of us could afford that?

Anonymous said...

I saw a related story somewhere lately (maybe WSJ). Truckers are being forced to get new trucks simply to meet this new dictat. Due to the cost of current trucks, people who owned their rigs have been forced to sell them and lease new trucks. No accumulation of capitol for you, Comrade!

The guys who get laid off from the dirt place can probably get jobs performing the required change of street signs from all caps to sentence-case. So it all works out in the end...

Howlsatmoon said...

And it ain't just truckers folks. My "big" electrical firm has a fleet of close to 200 vehicles, trucks, backhoes, dumps, compressors....etc. that come under these regs.....

The air is clean and the politico brain is polluted.