Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.orgSupreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis popularized the phrase “laboratories of democracy”: “(T)o describe how a ‘state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.’”

Cities and towns also experiment with policy novelties – serving as even smaller laboratories. For ideas both good – and very, very bad. From what we’ve seen, urban localities are doing some really weird, very failed science.

For instance, Seattle, Washington doesn’t do math very well. Or history. Or the history of math. They imposed a $15-per-hour minimum wage. And how’d that go?: “(I)t reveals a new and disturbing channel by which minimum wages could hurt the very workers they’re created to help – reduced working hours. This is not about justifying the wealth of the rich, it’s about respecting the natural law of market forces.”

Ah yes – the natural law of market forces. No one on the planet respects it less than government. No one breaks it more.

Fighting mightily for the title of dumbest local lab – is South Miami, Florida: “(T)he South Miami City Commission will decide on July 12 when they vote on a ordinance that would require solar photovoltaic systems be installed on all newly constructed homes. Older homes would also be subjected to this requirement if more than 50 percent of its square footage is renovated.”

This would be government dumb – piled on top of government dumb.

The original dumb – is the tens (hundreds?) of billions of dollars government has already wasted on the production of solar power (and we here define “power” in the loosest, most meaningless possible way).

In addition to breaking the natural law of market forces – this crony nonsense breaks my Ice Cream Rule. Which states: “If it is a good idea – no government money is necessary. No one needs to subsidize ice cream.”

Government takes lots and LOTS of money via taxes from actual (and therefore profitable) energy sources – like oil, natural gas and coal (and all the rest of productive society). And gives it to fake, money-drain, non-energy sources – like solar (and wind, and…). Which not just breaks the law of market forces – it shatters it.

This is serious government dumb. But it’s looking to get dumber.

The inexorable next step after government mandating we subsidize it – is mandating we buy it. This is what South Miami is considering.

Because South Miami doesn’t do math well. Or history. Or the history of math.

Remember that little United States housing hiccup in 2008 – that caused the entire global economy to collapse? That planetary catastrophe was the result of government mandating banks make stupid (red line) mortgage loans. And then having government-run Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae buy the loans they mandated the banks make.

The Feds shattered the natural law of market forces. And then had Freddie and Fannie buy up the very many pieces. The latter only further shattered the natural law – because it prolonged the fantasy of the former.

After decades spent building this house of house cards – Reality eventually intervened. As it always does. And the world came tumbling down.

South Miami is looking to do the exact same thing. Take money from us to fund the front end – and then mandate we spend our money to prop it up on the back end.

They have to make us directly purchase the government folly – because they don’t have a government-funded Freddie and Fannie to hide behind.

Here’s hoping the South Miami City Commission learns from thousands of years worth of limitless government mistakes – and doesn’t yet again repeat failed history.

This first appeared in Red State.

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  1. MUG

    Seton, they are already mandating we buy it nationwide. Shutting down coal plants and building wind farms and solar farms for the energy we already purchase from the power companies. Both wind and solar energy cost more to produce and do far greater damage to the environment per kilowatt of energy than coal plants. The environmental impact of mining and manufacturing the components, storage batteries and solar cells to build solar and wind farms is enormous, greater than the lifetime impact of a far more efficient, reliable coal plant.