by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing on

Most of us are unaware of the caliber of disaster caused by some member of the U.S. Popcorn Board revealing how another member voted in a popcorn referendum. But no worries. The Department of Agriculture is keenly aware of the danger and has made such disclosures a federal crime to protect us from any future recurrence. The same agency makes sure nobody sells cream style corn that isn’t creamy enough, while the Federal Trade Commission makes sure those all-important mattress tags remain intact.

Hundreds of Internet stories describe silly regulations, many of which are not true. One is an oft-repeated fable that one can’t own chickens in Louisville, Colorado. In fact, residents are allowed to own up to six hens, prompting a city official to say, “See, we do not have dumb rules here.”

Really? Why six but not seven?

President Reagan famously said, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” The regulation part aptly describes activists now clamoring to regulate walking on public land. It’s hard to tax or subsidize walking, leaving regulation as the only clear option.

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