Sunday, February 10, 2013

Overstepping Bounds

Advancing Healthy Housing

The White House Council on Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, the Surgeon General, and the Department of Energy are all teaming up with a "Strategy for Action" to improve housing quality.

Admirable Goal

The Strategy for Action encourages federal agencies to take preemptive actions that will help reduce the number of American homes with health and safety hazards.  Millions of U.S. homes have moderate to severe physical housing problems, including dilapidated structure; roofing problems; heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies; water leaks and intrusion; pests; damaged paint; and high radon gas levels. 

Far Outside the Bounds

No matter how admirable the goal, these issues are far outside the boundaries established for our federal government.  They would also seem to be aimed at correcting a problem that doesn't exist, as everything mentioned in the press release would seem to be already addressed by state and local laws and regulations.  A simple Google search for: Tenant rights in "insert your state here" will reveal the myriad of rules and regulations already covering the subject. For example Pennsylvania and Colorado can be found here.  

How much is too much?

It is true that anything that is or can be handled at the state or local level can be handled at the federal level, but is it appropriate?  The first thing to address in our budgetary crisis is what is the federal government doing that is already being done at a lower level, and what are they doing that should be done at a lower level.

We need a limited federal government, or we need to stop wasting our time and money pretending we have one and eliminate state and local government.  It's ridiculous and expensive engaging in a charade  that we are a federal republic if we're going to act like a centrally managed state.

To establish an effective and cost effective federal government we must enforce the boundaries of central authority.  Even if the proposed actions are correct, we must ask are they appropriate to be accomplished at that level.

Advancing Healthy Housing - A Strategy for Action



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