Inside the Beltway there are loads of enormous buildings, each with its own campus, and each filled with thousands and thousands of people dedicated to stopping your toilet from flushing right, making your appliances cease to function properly, messing with your engine’s performance, taking the spare tire out of your car, and making everything more expensive.
Jeffrey Tucker visited Brazil and enjoyed taking an old-fashioned shower.
We have long lived with regulated showers, plugged up with a stopper imposed by government controls imposed in 1992. There was no public announcement. It just happened gradually. After a few years, you couldnâ€™t buy a decent shower head. They called it a flow restrictor and said it would increase efficiency. By efficiency, the government means â€œdoesnâ€™t work as well as it used to.â€
Weâ€™ve been acculturated to lame showers, but thatâ€™s just the start of it. Anything in your home that involves water has been made pathetic, thanks to government controls.
You can see the evidence of the bureaucrat in your shower if you pull off the showerhead and look inside. It has all this complicated stuff inside, whereas it should just be an open hole, you know, so the water could get through. The flow stopper is mandated by the federal government.
To be sure, the regulations apply only on a per-showerhead basis, so if you are rich, you can install a super fancy stall with spray coming at you from all directions. Yes, the market invented this brilliant but expensive workaround. As for the rest of the population, we have to live with a pathetic trickle.
Itâ€™s a pretty astonishing fact, if you think about it. The government ruined our showers by truncating our personal rights to have a great shower even when we are willing to pay for one. Sure, you can hack your showerhead but each year this gets more difficult to do. Today it requires drills and hammers, whereas it used to just require a screwdriver.
The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades. I had to laugh when Donald Trump made mention of this during the campaign. He was challenged to name an EPA regulation he didnâ€™t like. And recall that he is in the hospitality business and knows a thing or two about this stuff.
â€œYou have showers where I canâ€™t wash my hair properly,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s a disaster. Itâ€™s true. They have restrictors put in. The problem is you stay under the shower for five times as long.”
The pundit class made fun of him, but he was exactly right! This is a huge quality of life issue that affects every American, every day.
Itâ€™s not just about the showerhead. The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades, thanks to EPA mandates on state and local governments. This has meant that even with a good showerhead, the shower is not as good as it might be. It also means that less water is running through our pipes, causing lines to clog and homes to stink just slightly like the sewer. This problem is much more difficult to fix, especially because plumbers are forbidden by law from hacking your water pressure.
The combination of poor pressure and lukewarm temperatures profoundly affects how well your dishwasher and washing machine work.As for the heat of the water, the obsession over â€œsafetyâ€ has led to regulations that the top temperature is preset on most water heaters, at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is only slightly hotter than the ideal temperature for growing yeast. Most are shipped at 110 degrees in order to stay safe with regulators. This is not going to get anything really clean; just the opposite. Water temperatures need to be 140 degrees to clean things. (Looking at the industry standard, 120 is the lowest-possible setting for cleaning but 170 degrees gives you the sure thing.)
The combination of poor pressure and lukewarm temperatures profoundly affects how well your dishwasher and washing machine work. Plus, these two machines have been severely regulated in how much energy they can consume and how much water they can use. Top-loading washing machines are a thing of the past, while dishwashers that grind up food and send it away are a relic. We are lucky now to pull out a glass without soap scum on it. As for clothing, what you are wearing is not clean by your grandmotherâ€™s standards.
So you might have a vague sense that your clothing and dishes arenâ€™t coming out as clean as they might have in the past. This is exactly right. But because we donâ€™t have a direct comparison, and these regulations have taken many years to gradually unfold and take over our lives, we donâ€™t notice this as intensely.
When you travel to Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, or Switzerland â€“ and probably many places Iâ€™ve never been â€“ you are suddenly shocked. Why does everything work so well? Why donâ€™t things work as well in the US? The answer is one word: government. This is the only reason.
Read the whole thing.