- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 16, 2000

Not even our bathrooms are safe from the tyranny of the lifestyle police who years ago successfully outlawed functional toilets in favor of optimistically-named "water-saver" units that are now required equipment in all new homes. The idea was to conserve water and reduce the amount of sewage that needs to be treated. The problem is the low-flow toilets which use a piddling 1.6 gallons per flush as compared to the oceanic 3.5 gallons of your basic American standard toilet don't get the job done. You have to flush twice. Which sort of obviates the whole point of the exercise. Two flushes of a 1.6 gallon "water-saver" equals just about 1 flush of the old-style water hog model. But even then, it still sometimes requires a third flush or a plunger to complete the exercise.

For this reason, a black market in the contraband toilets has sprouted up, with large wads of cash being palmed by contractors who furtively install a verboten porcelain god in someone's home, in violation of all that's decent and right-minded. People are paying up to $1,000 for an old toilet because a 20-year-old one that works is worth more than a brand-new one that doesn't.

There has also been a movement to get rid of the law mandating the low-flow toilets. But last week, a House panel rejected the bill that would have given relief to Americans 13-12. That one vote difference will make all the difference in millions of homes, all across the country morning, noon and night. "The American people are being forced to use toilets and showers that simply don't work. Privacy and freedom are the only things being flushed away," quipped Georgia Republican Rep. Charlie Norwood following the bill's defeat. Michigan Rep. Joe Knollenberg plans to bring the bill which he sponsored back for another try next year. Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton may have offered the definitive analysis of the situation when he observed: "I agree with Mr. Knollenberg when he said, 'Get the federal government out of the bathroom.' We never should have been there in the first place." It's hard to argue with that.

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