- - Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The federal government, which for decades has failed to pass budgets on time, balance those budgets, win wars, secure borders, preserve the value of currency, ensure law and order, or do any of the other important things that governments are supposed to do, has recently been on a spree of incompetence, leavened only by its complete lack of self-awareness.

A month or so ago, a commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission said the quiet part out loud and mentioned that the federal government was thinking about banning gas-powered stoves. Appropriately, that idea was quickly buried in ridicule, and Team Biden took great pains to say that no one was talking about banning current gas stoves.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm even called such ideas “ridiculous.”

Well, it turns out that the Energy Department that Ms. Granholm runs has for some time been preparing a rule to prevent anyone from having natural gas stoves in the future.

Worse yet, as our friends over at SPS Global reported last week: “After three years of steadily restricting natural gas use in new construction, San Francisco Bay Area communities have turned to a bigger goal: requiring existing buildings to go all-electric. … A handful of towns and cities in the region have begun requiring homeowners to install electric appliances and prepare their homes for future electrification when they replace gas equipment or undertake renovations. Some communities have also set a target date for discontinuing gas service within their borders, a policy known as ‘end of flow.’”

If that sounds like outlawing gas stoves, including the ones already in kitchens, that’s because it is.

It is also important to know that gas stoves are not the only item on the target list. Other gas appliances, including heating units and water heaters, are also soon to be illegal.

So are gasoline-powered cars. Because California has the ability to set its own emissions standards for some provisions of the federal Clean Air Act, it may have the ability to outlaw gasoline-powered cars. At the moment, California has done just that, effective in 2035. The ban now needs only the approval of Team Biden before it is effective.

About 15 states are, for some inexplicable reason, prepared to follow the Golden State off this particular cliff, and it’s a distinct possibility that automakers will simply choose to make all their cars and trucks electric rather than buck the power of the California market.

At the same time that California and the federal government are telling citizens what kinds of stoves they can have and what kinds of cars they can drive, they are busy failing at the most elemental tasks of governing.

The same people who want to outlaw gasoline-powered cars, gas stoves and natural gas heating systems are unwilling or unable to stem the tide of illegal crossings of the southern border of the United States (or the northern border, for that matter). They are unable or unwilling to stop the invasion of our airspace by 10,000 drones operated by Mexican drug cartels. They have been unable to stop the flow into the United States of the fentanyl that has killed 70,000 of our citizens.

They can’t manage to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon before it invades our airspace. They can’t even keep their story straight on how many others there might have been.

Here’s an idea for governments at all levels: Do your own jobs. Defend the nation — all of it. Balance a budget or two. Reduce the atmosphere of lawlessness in your cities. Win a war. Build bridges or weapons systems on budget and on schedule. Then, and only then, start offering to “help” the citizenry focus on which stoves they can have and cars and trucks they should drive.

• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, co-hosts “The Unregulated Podcast.” He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.

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