POLITICS

Regulatory Robbery in the name of public safety

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

Federal lawmakers are pushing a bill that would pressure states into requiring in-car blood-alcohol tests for convicted drunk drivers. As with all government intrusions, we're told this is for the public good. But if you've been reading my work, I bet you can guess who's behind this push.

The Washington Times' Luke Rosiak has the story:

For the past 18 months, lobbyists for “ignition interlocks,” as they are called, have jockeyed to inject a provision into the crevices of the transportation reauthorization bill, a tentative outline of which was released Friday by Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican....

The Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers hired lobbyist David Kelly, a former chief of staff and acting administrator at the National Highway and Traffic Safety AdministrationMr. Lautenberg’s former chief of staff, Tim Yehl, now lobbies for Ignition Interlock Systems of Iowa.

I call it regulatory robbery, and it's not rare. Here are three off the top of my head:

  • Most famously, the health insurance industry got Congress to force everyone to own health insurance, and the drug industry got Congress to force states to subsidize prescription drugs through Medicaid.
  • Merck hired the former chief of staff to Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Gov. Perry then mandated all Texas girls take Merck's Gardasil vaccine.
  • GE invested in greenhouse-gas credits, and now lobbies to require businesses to use greenhouse as credits.
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