Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Stupid Legislators & Fun With Numbers

Our idiot legislators are at it again, making sure that they do the thinking for all you stupid people out there. According to this CA story, State Representatives want to mandate the inclusion of weather radios in the sale of every manufactured home (ie. mobile home) sold in Tennessee, adding up to $75 to their cost.

The rationale?
"If we can require something that is this inexpensive and if it saves one life, it's worth it,'' Barrick said. "It seems like we've become tornado alley over the last couple of years.''
An emotional feeling and a couple of legislators who want to "do something." Always adds up to trouble.

Doing some Googling, I learned that approximately 185 people died in tornadoes in Tennessee between 1950 and 1995, or roughly 4 people per year. Obviously this is an average and some years are worse than others.

Approximately 236,000 mobile homes exist in Tennessee (Table 3), or 11% of the State's housing total and 3% of all US housing.

Sales of new manufactured homes as a percentage of all home sales has fallen in the past few years, nationally, from roughly 20% to 10% in 2001. So, let's say that approximately 20,000 new manufactured homes will be sold in Tennessee this year.

Do the math: $1.5 million in additional cost is being added, every year, to manufactured housing on the chance that one of the four average yearly deaths is in a mobile home, and happens to have their weather radio on, and heeds the warning.

Lest you think I'm a defender of manufactured housing as a suitable choice in tornado-prone areas, I'll also provide this link, to an excellent article on the dangers of mobile homes, from the National Severe Storm Laboratory.

It's just that I hate dim-witted, sloppy, emotional people making unnecessary, pointlessly expensive law.

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