ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS VOTE TO BAN DISH SOAP
Yes, you read that right. The state is facing record unemployment rates, Wisconsin has lost 133,000 jobs in the last year, and the Democrats' great idea is to ban dish soap. That sounds like a jobs agenda if I've ever heard one.
As it stands, the budget has not moved one inch in the last week because of disagreements between the two houses. They are bickering over which tax increase is a better one to plug a $6.6 billion budget hole. Whatever they choose will end up increasing taxes on Wisconsinites by about $4 billion. These damaging tax increases are going to kill jobs. So one might think they would try to at least mitigate the damage done in the budget by introducing a legislative agenda that helps the thousands of unemployed by creating and retaining jobs.
Additionally, reports indicating phosphate-free dishsoap is a very inferior product to regular dish soap, making it hard to even get dishes clean. This Christian Science Monitor article details the problems experienced in Tacoma County, Washington after a ban was instituted. People from that county drive elsewhere to get dishwashing detergent that actually works.
I did offer an amendment on the Assembly floor to delay the ban until 2015 so that the industry has sufficient time to develop a product that meets the needs of consumers. Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated and the dish soap ban is expected to come up for a final vote sometime in the next week.
If you would like to make your voice heard on this proposal and demand that you are still allowed the right to clean dishes, you can call the legislative hotline at 1-800-362-9472.
Government Run Amok - Continued FDA Proposes Regulating Cheerios as a Drug because of Cholesterol Claims
In another display of government over-regulation, the Food and Drug Administration recently sent a letter to Cheerios indicating that because it advertises the product as helpful in lowering cholesterol it should be regulated as as drug (read the news reporthere). Whether Cheerios actually have any bearing on cholesterol levels, the manufacturer makes the claim because of the health properties of oats and soluble fiber.
This is just another example of government trying to save us from ourselves. Consumers are generally smart enough to make decisions on whether or not they should rely on a box of cereal to help lower cholesterol. If the product were somehow dangerous, that would be one thing. But Cheerios have been around forever. I don't think we need to worry about them somehow harming the people that eat them.
I find it alarming that government continues to seep more and more into our everyday lives. This nation is slowly becoming a nanny state where suing for everything leads to scaring people into thinking everything needs to be regulated. The result is a major erosion of our capitalist system and of our personal freedoms.
This problem isn't occurring only at the Federal level. Lawmakers are guilty of it here in Wisconsin. A few weeks ago, Democrats in the Assembly passed a bill that "prohibits any person from opening any door of a motor vehicle located on a highway without first taking due precaution to ensure that his or her act will not interfere with the movement of traffic or endanger any other person or vehicle" (read: bicyclists or bicycles).
Apparently there has to be a law preventing motorists from opening their door on bicyclists. And not only a law, but also a fine. You can be fined up to $40 the first time and up to $100 if you are convicted of the same crime in the same year. Do we really need a law for something like this? Isn't it just common-sense to look out your door before you open it? If one doesn't have enough common sense to do this, adding another page to the mile-high pile of statutes isn't going to achieve the goal.
Let's Make a Deal
Each house of the Legislature currently has a different version of the budget and there has been no progress in moving toward a final version in over a week. Last night, Democrats from the Senate and Assembly formed a conference committee at 5pm as a last-ditch effort to make it seem like they were trying to work out their differences in a transparent manner.
However, it was quickly apparent that the effort was a complete sham. Instead of making any changes, they simply read the budget aloud. When the two Republicans on the Committee questioned the purpose, they were accused of being obstructionist. Then when the same two Republican members tried to amend the budget, they were told they would not be allowed to do so. Even one of the most liberal Madison newspapers seemed to see through the facade. (Click here to read today's Capital Times article).
If you would like see for yourself how absurd the meeting was, you can click here to watch it on Wisconsin Eye.
Even though the Democrats on the Conference Committee promised Republicans they would be allowed to offer changes at 8am today when the meeting was scheduled to begin, there has still been no opportunity. They simply ignored the meeting time, opting to again cut deals behind closed doors. It is now early evening, and it doesn't look likely that the committee will convene any time soon.