Sunday, February 01, 2009

Hoffman doesn't disappoint

Wayne Hoffman is off to a good start with his high visibility columns running in the Statesman. Today's column discussed that we ought not raise taxes for transportation until we're sure the money is used efficiently. Fair enough.

Unfortunately, Hoffman doesn't have his inner wingnut under control and it shows up in his column. He writes
we now have two recent reports proving that increased fees and taxes will merely be used to subsidize inefficiency and hyper-regulation.
The reports don't call out "hyper-regulation." The "hyper" is a favorite intensifier of Hoffman, and he usually attaches it to "liberal." But, as used by Hoffman, it is meaningless. It just stokes emotion but is devoid of reason. Hoffman doesn't tell us which regulations are so horrible, nor does he discuss the purpose of the regulations. Nor does he make any comparisons to other regulatory regimes to show that Idaho's are "hyper" in relation to some other state.

He also writes
Further, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a draft report last year that concluded as much as 34 percent of the cost of transportation projects are the result of regulatory hurdles all throughout the planning and construction process. That's just paying people to push papers around.
I'm sure that regulations do add to the cost. Regulations impose requirements for quality control, and standards of production. They establish, for instance, the slope of the roadway so that water will drain instead of puddling unsafely. They impose runoff limits to keep from destroying streams and habitat near roadways. Regulations impose standards for signing during construction, and for flagging, and for traffic control to keep drivers safe.

No, Wayne, regulations are not the enemy. Just ask folks in the financial community. Some regulations are critically important to protect taxpayers and citizens. True, some regulations might be over the top, but if you're going to gripe about regulations, you have an obligation to tell us which ones you don't like, and why.

If this is an example of the thinking done in your think tank, I'm guessing your tank is an inch deep and a mile wide.

2 comments:

EyeOn said...

"It just stokes emotion but is devoid of reason."

Typical right wing tactic, all emotion, no reason. Wayne appears to be the print version of wingnut radio.

Sisyphus said...

I was going to remark on how vapid his analysis was but you did I fine job as usual.