Don't know if you've heard about this or not but ABC News reported on Dec. 1 that the Federal Highway Administration is ordering all local governments, from the smallest towns to the largest, to purchase new street signs the bureaucrats say are easier to read.
It's all in the new 800 page publication, "Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices." Local entities have been ordered to increase the size of the letters on street signs from the current 4 inches to 6 inches on all roads with speed limits over 25 miles per hour. The target date for this to be completed is January 2012. They are to install signs with new reflective letters that are more visible at night by January 2018. And whenever street signs are changed for ANY reason, they can no longer be in ALL CAPS. The bureaucrats have decided we can read lower case letters better.
One example of how this will impact local governments is Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This changeover will cost them nearly $2 million, which is twice as much as the city's entire annual allotment for traffic control.
The new regulations, written under the Bush Administration, are designed to make sure that signs are easier to read for an aging population.
Or, you could just buy a GPS.
Can you imagine an 800 page manual on uniform traffic control devices?
Not surprisingly, the American Traffic Safety Services Association which represents companies that make signs and the reflective material used on them, lobbied hard for the new rules. And at least one key study used to justify the changes was funded by the 3M Corporation, one of the few companies that make the reflective material now required on street signs.
And therein lies the real culprit; the lobbyists.
Lobbyists are never interested in the big picture. They have no concern at all about how many people will be inconvenienced or required to pay more money for products and services; they only care about the industries that pay their inflated salaries and legislation that affects their employer in either positive or negative ways. If it's a positive outcome for their bosses, they support the legislation; if it's a negative outcome they don't. It's that simple.
Lobbyists for the timber industry for example don't care whether clear-cutting forests is harmful to the environment, they only care that it's profitable for those interests they represent.
Americans can't buy prescription drugs from Canada because it would cut into the bottom line of Big Pharma companies in the United States so any attempt by our elected officials to legalize drug sales from Canada is met with uniform opposition by the lobbyists who represent pharmaceutical companies in the United States.
Lobbyists are the deal makers and breakers in this shadow government that supposedly represents all the people but doesn't. It represents the special interests of the wealthy who only want to get wealthier and who pay no mind to how it influences the nation at large.
This is the era we live in. It doesn't matter what kind of revolution we have at the ballot box. It doesn't matter that we throw the old bunch out and send a new bunch in. It doesn't matter how angry the electorate is.
Because as long as lobbyists run the country and dictate legislation instead of we the people, nothing's ever going to change regardless of who we send to Washington.