Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

This Reason Foundation blogger makes fun of the Federal government for hosting a national bedbug summit. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently hosted its first-ever National Bed Bug Summit.  And, as the AP article reports, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) is planning to reintroduce legislation to "expand grant programs to help public housing authorities cope with infestations."  The bill will be called the-- I kid you not--"Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite Act."

It seems that the real bloodsuckers are the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington wasting taxpayer money on such programs.  Then again, wasn't it the Founding Fathers who said that "all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--and the Freedom from Bedbugs"?

I know I'm a squish, but isn't this the sort of thing that governments should do?  Pest infestations are genuine public health problems--the kind where your tolerating a bedbug infestation means that I might end up with critters.  Indeed, I'm stalking a mouse right now that seems to be feasting in the neighboring row house, then coming over to our place to sleep.  Public health has made titanic achievements in sanitation, under which rubric pest infestations fall, and even most libertarians recognize this.


Maybe you don't think we ought to have public housing.  But as long as we do, isn't it a good thing that we're trying to keep it from being the epicenter of a bedbug epidemic?

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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