Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”     Thomas Sowell

July 8, 2008

Bedbugs?! Call Me When You’ll Fight Mosquitoes

by Brad Warbiany

Really?!

No issue is too small for your Congress to handle. But seriously, judging from the comments so far on H.R. 6068, the Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2008, people think bedbugs are a problem that Congress should address and that the federal government can help solve.

The bill would create a grant program in the Department of Commerce and authorize $50,000,000 in each of fiscal years 2009 through 2012 for giving these grants to states. It may be that taxpayers should worry more about the bite put on their wallets, but if people want Congress to do something about bedbugs, they want Congress to do something about bedbugs.

Any time a bill is co-sponsored by Don “Bridge to Nowhere” Young and William “Cold Cash” Jefferson, it should raise your suspicion. The bill gives funding to states which already have or implement bedbug inspection programs. Anyone want to bet that Alaska (Young) and Louisiana (Jefferson) have these programs or soon will?

Thankfully, this bill appears to have been sent to committee, and I’m going to hope it dies a quiet death in there rather than come back out for a vote.

From everything I’ve [now] read on the subject, bedbugs are a particularly nasty organism to come and visit. But I hardly expect that the feds are going to be able to do a damn thing to put an end to them (as if they were Constitutionally authorized to do so anyway). This is an issue that I definitely may need to now worry about, as well, as I travel often for business and stay in lots of hotels. But I still don’t see why this requires federal tax dollars, when we’ve already got big enough deficits. It seems like a giveaway to states to employ more “inspectors” and regulators; which is much more likely to be the true intent of this legislation.

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12 Comments

  1. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by LBest — July 8, 2008 @ 1:57 pm
  2. The point in doing something federally is that it’s a problem that affects all states and needs a centralised agency to track spread, effectiveness of control measures, and disseminate information (there is a huge lack of bed bug education in the general population). Surely that is also cheaper than every state implementing their own agency to take care of it, and most effective because all of the data is in one place as opposed to spread between 52 different systems.

    I don’t know if the bill does that – but it is definitely a federal issue.

    Comment by bedbugvictimperthaustralia — July 8, 2008 @ 5:39 pm
  3. This Bill is Definitely needed….people don’t want to deal with these bugs.

    Comment by inthemidwest — July 8, 2008 @ 5:52 pm
  4. The federal government should definitely use my money to look into this.

    I also support the Omnibus Dust Mite Management and Relocation Act of 1984 (HR 72168).

    Without federal, nay, worldwide coordination, how can mere independent free citizens hope to address the blight of dust mites? With the help of this act Homeland Security will be able to post an agent at the foot of every bed in the country. Armed with a powerful magnifying glass and federally-approved tweezers, the agent will be able to relocate dust mites to free speech zones in the area, where they will be limited to feeding on the follicles and skin fragments of Radicalized and Homegrown Terrorists (HR 1955).

    Also included in this bill is much-needed relief for people with Amathophobia and Koniophobia. Each person suffering from one of these afflictions will now fall under the Americans With Disabilities Act. They’ll receive subsidized tranquilizers, and a feather duster embossed with a likeness of Santa Claus to illicit peace of mind.

    I also understand that, if adopted, this measure would actually amend the United States Constitution under Article V to add the following text to Article I Section 8: “[The Congress shall have Power]…To provide aid and solace to citizens suffering from minor insect infestations such as bedbugs and dust mites.” The bill would also repeal Amendment 10. This would help legislators constitutionally add any other harebrained abuses of power they can conceive of with their pointy little empty heads.

    Comment by Akston — July 8, 2008 @ 8:45 pm
  5. [...] Akston: The federal government should definitely use my money to look into this. I also support the Omnibus Dust Mite… [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Universal Coverage Will Reduce Costs? — July 8, 2008 @ 11:02 pm
  6. Akston,

    Very funny!

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — July 8, 2008 @ 11:07 pm
  7. Mr BedbugsInPerth

    First, having taken some time to read your blog, I want to extend my condolences for the nightmare you have found yourself trapped in. Hopefully your nightmare should be ending soon.

    Secondly, your idea of a centralized governmental institution managing bedbug infestation is a terrible idea. There is no dearth of education. Within 12 hours of catching your first bug, you knew exactly what was going on. Clearly the information is already readily available to the layman.

    If the government were to manage and direct bedbug eradication efforts, I can flat out guarantee you that the people doing the actual work would be far more interested in pretending infestations didn’t exist than in thoroughly eradicating them.

    Comment by tarran — July 9, 2008 @ 5:46 am
  8. For anyone who “doubts” this is becoming an epidemic…just do a google search on universities and “bed bugs” and you’ll see what a problem it is. In NY, universities are spending big money to get rid of these things-because they are becoming SO common and will infest an entire area-in a VERY quick time.

    Comment by inthemidwest — July 9, 2008 @ 8:39 am
  9. inthemidwest,

    I don’t think any of us are particularly denying that it may be a growing problem. However, to assume that the federal government can or will solve the problem is rather silly. Besides, if I get a cockroach infestation, or a rat/squirrel problem in an attic, should I call my legislator or an exterminator? I think the latter is a lot more likely to do some good.

    And if you assume it is the federal government’s responsibility to fight bedbugs, what *ISN’T* their responsibility?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — July 9, 2008 @ 10:20 am
  10. to assume that the federal government can or will solve the problem is rather silly.

    To “can or will”, I’d add “should or has the authority to”. :-)

    The Constitution has an enumerated list of issues which can be addressed by Congress in Article 1, Section 8. Any issues outside that list “are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    Comment by Akston — July 9, 2008 @ 11:21 am
  11. Until you’ve suffered from bed bugs, you won’t understand how incredibly difficult they are to eradicate. Unlike cockroaches, which are easily killed and more or less harmless to humans, bed bugs leave a painfully itchy bite which can quickly become infected. Please don’t be so flippant when addressing this issue.

    Comment by FormerVictim — July 10, 2008 @ 7:16 pm
  12. Please don’t be so flippant when addressing this issue.

    Fair enough. I’ll give it one more serious response:

    I’ll stipulate it’s a serious problem for those who encounter it. I would not wish such an infestation on anyone.

    The more salient question here is the one presented by Brad Warbiany above:

    …if you assume it is the federal government’s responsibility to fight bedbugs, what *ISN’T* their responsibility?

    Can supporter of this legislation answer that question directly, without hedging? What isn’t their responsibility? I maintain that the answer is clearly defined in the document that established American government. Tell me how the United States Constitution authorizes the federal government to manage bedbugs, and we can have a meaningful discussion.

    The difficulty in fighting bedbugs is simply not the point. Several issues in life can be incredibly difficult for many of us. Heartstring arguments are often the basis for many well-meaning abuses of power. The federal government was not established to address any issue anyone finds difficult. It was established for specific, explicit, limited functions that are written down. These limits were written down – and are sworn to be upheld by officers of the federal government and the military – to prevent the kind of abuses that the founders crossed oceans to escape.

    For those who think the United States Congress should have the power to fight bedbugs, you’ll need obtain the votes of two-thirds of both houses of Congress (or two thirds of all the state legislatures) and establish a Constitutional Convention where you can propose an amendment to add bedbugs to the powers of Congress. If three quarters of the legislatures vote for a Bedbug Amendment, then Congress will have the authority to do this. Read about the process in this short paragraph.

    It’s hard to add constitutional powers for the federal government. It’s supposed to be hard. The federal government is not designed to “perform other duties as required”. That job is yours. And mine.

    Comment by Akston — July 10, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

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