When unemployment is reaching heights we have not seen in years, and cities are on the brink of bankruptcy, what is the Obama administration focused on? Street signs. Not the broken ones that need to be replaced, but all of them, even if they are brand new. The reason? Most of them are written in all caps and according to the new 800 page book of Uniform Traffic Control Devices signs in ALL CAPS are not good enough anymore.
In places like Dinwiddie County, VA there are not many people, if any, complaining about not being able to read the street signs, but they still must comply with the federal regulations. This is a great example of federal overreach into decisions that are best made by local governments. The Heritage Foundation released a report detailing the amount of regulation in the Obama Era:
According to data from the Government Accountability Office, federal agencies promulgated 43 rules during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, that impose significant burdens on the private sector. The total costs for these rules were estimated by the regulators themselves at some $28 billion, the highest level since at least 1981, the earliest date for which figures are available. Fifteen of the 43 major rules issued last during the fiscal year involved financial regulation. Another five stem from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act adopted by Congress in early 2010. Ten others come from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including the first mandatory reporting of “greenhouse gas” emissions and $10.8 billion in new automotive fuel economy standards (adopted jointly with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)). Overall, counting the fuel standards, the EPA is responsible for the lion’s share of the reported regulatory costs—some $23.2 billion.
Taking the decisions out of the hands of local officials and putting them in the hands of unelected federal bureaucrats is a trend that will only accelerate.
There are people outside the federal government in favor of the new regulations. 3M, the company that will make the reflective material that is now required on all street signs in the United States by 2018 fought hard for these regulations.
We have seen regulations get relaxed before though. The Obama Administration is handing out health care waivers left and right to the biggest corporations, but they are not doing much for small businesses that will bear the brunt of the health care cost. They seem to be given out on a whim, so maybe the biggest cities will be exempt from the new street sign regulations, but not small towns like Dinwiddie County.