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When it comes to intrusive government, California is plunging to new depths, as Daniel Weintraub notes in the Sacramento Bee. “For Californians who fear big government, this might sound like the ultimate nightmare: An unelected board and its vast scientific bureaucracy is going to force us to pay more to wipe our butts.”
The “unelected board” is the California Air Resources Board (CARB) armed with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which as Weintraub charitably puts it, “put a price on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions” to encourage industry and consumers “to use products that can be made with less harm to the environment.” Headed by unelected regulatory zealot Mary Nichols, CARB deploys onerous regulations that drive up the price of gasoline, a burden on the working poor and middle class. More recently, as Weintraub explains, “has studied the numbers on toilet paper’s contribution to climate change” and decided that the plant of Kimberly-Clark creates the fewest greenhouse gasses. Proctor & Gamble, the only other company that makes toilet paper in California, claimed that its product was better, so CARB attempted to recalculate its benchmark for “water absorbency.” But Kimberly-Clark cried foul and is trying to overturn the ruling.
Weintraub laments that simpler approaches such as a carbon tax or permit sale were not politically feasible. “So this is where we are today, with state officials sticking their noses in our bathrooms, studying the relative fluff and absorbency of toilet paper and assessing the damage each kind of tissue does to the environment.” This axis of bad legislation, unelected bureaucrats, and regulatory zealotry, as Weintraub says, will force us to pay more to wipe our butts.