Two very disturbing government announcements were made this week. First, the government will now set the compensation for executives of companies receiving TARP funds. Second, the FDA now has the authority to regulate tobacco products.
What else will the government decide is in our best interest?
Yes, it is ridiculous for executives of the banking industry to earn multi-million dollar salaries, bonuses and benefits for driving the economy into the ground. (Personally, I think it is also ridiculous to have bailed out those companies to the tune of multi-trillions of tax dollars that have to be borrowed and paid back with interest - at the expense of the tax payers.) But with this move of the government now determining compensation for these executives, the precedence has been set that the government can now tell individuals how much money they can earn. Why should they stop with banking executives?
Let's face it, the entertainment industry frequently pays athletes and executives in professional sports, and television and movie actors and executives, multi-million dollar salaries for what they do. Shouldn't the government weigh in and cap their salaries too? Let's get those salaries down to a few hundred-thousand dollars a year and mandate tickets be reduced to a five dollar admission point. Advertising costs can then also be reduced and the products being advertised can be mandated to have reduced prices too. It will be a win for everyone!
While we are at it, let's set up a Blue Ribbon Congressional Commission to establish compensation rates for everyone. Raise the minimum wage for those doing unskilled labor and reduce the larger salaries for those requiring more education and training. We can level the playing field! The costs to produce goods and services will be much lower so no one will need the additional money they once had. People can do the jobs they want to do instead of chasing the Almighty Dollar! Or the government can determine what you do given your education and training so only "the best"- people for the jobs are placed in those positions.
It is a given that tobacco use is a health hazard. Smoking increases the chance of developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases and pulmonary diseases. Studies of second-hand smoke do show some evidence that there is a higher risk of these types of health hazards to those exposed to the smoke. It may take a few years but the FDA will gradually make tobacco products so unattractive and expensive that we can be a "smoke free"- country. But why stop there?
We know that petroleum products in cars represent a greater health and environmental hazard. The amount of pollutants produced by cars and dumped into the environment far outweigh those produced by tobacco users. The government also now has a "Car Czar"-. If the Car Czar were to work with the FDA and the EPA to establish a "zero emission"- standard, the benefits to the environment, and to the general health, would be tremendous. We would not need an outright ban on cars, just reduce their size and make them all hydrogen cell, or electric. More cars the size of India's Tata Nano would require even less fuel. And they are far more affordable at about $2,000. Mandate the use of electric Tata Nano sized cars. What a wonderful goal for GM (Government Motors). Improve the environment and reduce the health hazards from petroleum pollutants!
The FDA can also make bolder moves to regulate alcohol products. Alcoholism is a serious problem in this country. Let the FDA regulate the use of alcohol - beer, wines and liquor. Make these products equally unattractive or difficult to obtain. Raise the prices and tax them into oblivion. With everyone driving Tatas, it will be in everyone's best interest to ensure we have no one driving under the influence. Add a breathalyzer to the ignition system. Any trace of alcohol will prevent the car from starting. We will save thousands of lives every year!
With tobacco and alcohol out of the picture, the FDA can focus on the most serious problem in America today - obesity. There are already well established dietary requirements for a healthy lifestyle. The government can mandate what food you eat and how much of it you can have. We can get rid of those obscene McDonald's Big Macs. Get everyone down to their ideal body weight and we can vastly reduce adverse cardiovascular effects!
Since we are moving to government regulated healthcare, by stopping tobacco use, alcohol use and over-eating, we will save billions - if not trillions - of dollars spent on preventable healthcare costs. We can save thousands of lives, billions of dollars of lost productivity, and have a much healthier society.
I could go on and on with other areas where we could give up our personal freedom to government regulation - guns, exercise, housing requirements, luxury goods and services, questionable violent video games, TV and movies, questionable "freedom of speech"-, etc.
Is that really where we want to go? I hope not.