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Government by Mad Hatter

The eco-geniuses dictated all America would use smaller toilet tanks. Result? San Francisco’s sanitary sewers are clogged with a noisome brown sludge.

The green gurus persuaded Congress to progressively ban incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescents. They’re made in China, so the U.S. factories that made the bulbs most people prefer are shutting down, throwing more American workers on the dole. If you break one of the new mercury-vapor bulbs, you now face a minor ecological disaster. And their greatest advertised advantage, longevity? It turns out if you switch them on and off, most of that reported advantage disappears.

Finally, take ethanol: Please. The scheme was to cut petroleum use — and air pollution — by forcing motorists to burn gasoline adulterated with corn whisky.

The stuff makes fuel pumps corrode faster. The plan also involved destroying more wildlife habitat to grow more corn on marginal lands, using more pesticide and irrigation water.

It turned out corporate agriculture uses more fossil fuels to get the corn to the refineries than anyone ever saved.

Finally, because corn is being burned in our gas tanks instead of feeding people, corn prices have doubled worldwide, contributing to food shortages and revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere. Outcomes still unknown.

Now comes the Government Accountability Office, which on March 1 listed the 45-cent-per-gallon ethanol blending tax credit among wasteful programs that could be eliminated.

The tax credit, which is due to expire at the end of the year, will cost $5.4 billion this year and $6.75 billion by 2015.

Eliminate the tax credit, by all means. The only problem with the GAO’s rationale is it assumes the government’s “gotta use ethanol” mandate itself will remain in force.

For heaven’s sake, even the Clown Price of Global Warming, Al Gore, now says the ethanol mandates were a mistake and should be repealed. Get rid of the whole shebang.

Where in the Constitution does Congress pretend to find any power to force us to use inadequate toilets, to buy costly Chinese light bulbs few people want, or to burn bourbon in our cars?

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