August 19 2014
Hair Today. Gone Tomorrow.
Patrice J. Lee
A big menace is off the streets. The heads of American women are safe thanks to the seizure of 5,000 Chinese-made hair dryers at the Mexican border. Do you feel any safer?
The real news story is that our tax dollars – a proposed $13 billion for fiscal year 2015 – are going toward enforcement efforts like this.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection we should all feel mighty safe knowing that the shipment of hair dryers which originated in China and posed a threat of electrical shock or electrocution didn’t make it into our country.
Apparently, officers discovered that the dryers were missing an immersion protection plug (a large, rectangular-shaped plug at the end of the hair dryer cord) and that they bore a suspect trademark logo. After coordinating with several other federal agencies including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, it was determined that the shipment was counterfeit.
The Daily Caller reports:
“This seizure is the latest example of the vigilance and attention to detail our officers pay to protect consumers from imported goods that pose a dangerous risk,” said one Customs and Border Patrol official.
CBP estimated that the nefarious devices would’ve netted $330,000 if they’d made it to market.
CBP’s proposed budget for the 2015 fiscal year requests $13 billion, a 5% nominal increase from 2014′s enacted budget, noting that “the American people place enormous trust and confidence in CBP to keep them safe.” According to the budget request, CBP is second only to the Internal Revenue Service when it comes to collecting government revenue: “In FY 2013, CBP generated $42.0 billion from duties, taxes, and fees. On average, CBP collects more than $160.0 million on a given working day in duties, taxes, and fees.”
Enforcement of our laws is critical to the bedrock principle of the rule of law in our nation. We should enforce those rules and even regulations that government deems necessary.
However, given the many priorities our nation faces and is chasing after hair dryers really the best use of federal dollars?
The illegal hair dryers flap occurred at a time when the border patrol is already taxed to capacity. Thanks to blundering comments by the President children from Central America are pouring across our borders. About 63,000 unaccompanied child immigrants came across the border between October and July alone, the vast majority of them in South Texas. This does not count those adults who have traditionally circumvented the immigration process to cross our borders as well.
Before federal agencies complain that they lack funding for properly managing the border, perhaps it would be worthwhile to audit all of the ways we slice up our federal tax dollars and to analyze which are generating the biggest value for that investment. Most Americans would probably rather see their hard-earned tax dollars going toward something more productive—or perhaps just back into their own pockets.