01 Oct 1996 National Directory of Environmental and Regulatory Victims (Abreviated Edition)
Much of the debate over regulatory reform has focused on the tremendous costs regulations impose on the economy. Estimates of these costs range from $400 billion to $1 trillion each year. But these figures don’t begin to tell the complete story. They can’t, for example, tell us how an elderly couple copes with the loss of a retirement nest egg — regulated away by government. They can’t tell us about the tough decisions young families must make because the industries they depend on for jobs have become politically-unpopular and have been targeted for intensive regulation. And they can’t tell us about the many small businesses that have closed their doors because the regulatory regime has become so complicated, so confusing that only the largest companies with teams of legal and regulatory experts are equipped to comply with every regulation that applies to them.
To follow are just a few stories of personal tragedy resulting from regulatory excess. Some tell the stories of victims of ill-conceived or poorly written laws. Others describe people who have become victims of the complicated web of confusing and sometimes contradictory regulations. Other tales tell of the victims of all-or-nothing regulations that too often leave people with nothing. Still other stories are about victims of outright abuse by government officials.
By offering these stories, The National Center for Public Policy Research’s Environmental Policy Task Force hopes to contribute to the better understanding of regulation — and the people whose lives they touch.
Federal Fluoride Treatment
on the Street
Nazism Feel At Home
“I was born and grew up under the Nazi and Communist systems,” said Saul Herscovici, a Romanian-born businessman from Waterloo, Iowa. “I am more frightened by a federal inspector on my property than my father was when a Nazi or Communist came on his property.”
Herscovici has launched his own personal crusade against Iowa’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) since 1993, when he was fined $2,500 for putting a power cord on a spool and hanging it on a hook. OSHA dropped the fine in November 1993, but Herscovici continues his public campaign.
Protecting Son From Deadly Snakes
“When the Lower Wisconsin Riverway Law was implemented, no structures were allowed that were visible from the Wisconsin River,” said one Wisconsin property owner. “This included flag poles, bird houses, bird feeders, etc. [However,] I was granted a permit to put up a 22×14 inch bird feeder on the condition that I plant a fast growing tree in front of my house. [Later,] I was threatened with fines of $1500 per day for erecting a flag pole. After two American Legion and one VFW [honor] squads were present for the flag pole dedication, the state attorney general quickly ruled that flag poles were not structures.”