Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Regulation Is Good Regulation, Right?

I just finished reading Thomas Sowell's The Housing Boom and Bust, which explained how land use restrictions drove up the costs of housing, creating a supposed "national affordable housing crisis" that was "solved" through the Community Reinvestment Act. The CRA required lenders to make a percentage of mortgages to "underserved communities." Banks which went along with the regulations were allowed to open more branches and ATM locations. As mortgage rates went up, homeowners defaulted, leaving banks with houses worth pennies on the dollars loaned, which caused banks to become insolvent.

Liberals often argue that more regulation is needed to solve our problems, and the housing boom and bust is just one example. On a state level, here's another.

State legislators voted to close drive-throughs yesterday in a late-night, pizza-fueled frenzy in which they passed 20 other bills in the last minutes before the end of the session.

They said the ban, part of legislation outlawing eating while driving, will save lives. They also described it as one more victory in the war against distracted driving, which studies show is a major cause of accidents. Other distractions on the hit list: GPS systems, smoking, applying makeup, radios, Hooters billboards — and passengers, who may be required to be silent in coming years.

Maryland thinks drivers are too stupid to drive safely, even though they have no evidence to show that such legislation works. How to solve the problem? Ban drive-thru windows.

I'm not the best driver in the world, and I've sat through a Saturday defensive driving course or two. Most of the time, people complain about people talking on cell phones as the primary way drivers are unsafe. Yet I've never seen anyone admit that their traffic violation was the result of talking on the phone. Granted, there's nothing scientific about my tale, but what it tells me is that there are plenty of other things that cause accidents. Maryland, apparently, thinks it can itemize them.

Thanks to Chuck Serio for the Maryland zaniness.