More D.C. "Crap"

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I’ve had enough of toilets that don’t flush properly. In fact, I’m sick of it. Heck, I’m flush with anger over it. Whether they’re the ones I use in public restrooms, work restrooms, at friend’s houses, or the one at home, the world of 1.6 gallon toilets is a crappy one, indeed. I reminisce about the old 8-cylinder, gas-guzzling, “environmentally unfriendly” machines that roared their way to excellence in flushing, and carried their dutiful bounties into nature’s sea (literally) of holding tanks, as if poetically endowed with a mission of goodwill toward man and his ego.

Now, the U.S. is no longer a place where we can lay confidence to our almighty waste-removal capabilities, for the bloody State has endowed us — involuntarily, I might add — with the militant environmentalist’s crown of creation — the 1.6 ne’er-do-flusher.

Environmental crazies believe this “low-flow capacity” contraption more efficiently uses water, thereby being a protector of nature and of the future itself. The EPA says these high-efficiency items will save in excess of 7.6 billion gallons per day by 2020. (A loosely-based statistic certain to make a splash!) The EPA also says that besides a reduction in water usage, there are also other significant environmental benefits as well. Facetiously I say, since those “other” benefits are deemed so “significant”, I am sure they are plenty worthy of giving up a functioning toilet for. So we shall trust our most trustworthy EPA, then.

This deplorable1992 governmental decree has replaced good toilets with bad (Gresham’s Law of Plumbing?), and has forced the makers of fine bathroom products to make a toilet that works with less than half the amount of water than before. NOTE: The older models were turbo-charged 3.5-7 gallon flushers! Can you imagine if the American taxpayer-voter was able to mandate that the government do its work with half the amount of workers that it used to? Or half the amount if money? Heaven forbid.

What I have found during my few years of involuntary testing is that this lack of flushing ability obliterates the original intent of using less water, by creating a need to repeatedly flush to obtain the results that one flush would have previously produced in one of the good old toilets of yesteryear. Make sense?

Supposedly, these new environmental favorites sport such standard equipment pieces as a “power gravity” flush (awesome!), more powerful siphon jets (impressive!), and increased trapway sizing (men will love this!) Of course, all these catchy phrases make the consumer believe that he is actually buying a product that is superior to the old one, but we know superior products are never developed via State mandates. Does the old Soviet Union or Eastern Bloc come to mind?

As is typical any time the government hinders the market availability of wanted goods/services, this totalitarian toilet ruling has created an underground market for the non-1.6 apparatus. A couple of years ago, and 18 miles away at the Canadian border, street-smart Detroiters were smuggling fine, 3.5 gallon Canadian toilets over the borders, causing upheaval at border control areas. And I thought the overflow of international bridge traffic was due to commuters and malt liquor smugglers. Forget cigarettes and beer, toilets were the name of the game.

The black market for toilets along border areas was thriving then, and still is to some extent. Some surveys have shown a drop in sales of 1.6 units along Canadian border areas.

It’s funny to note that a Metropolitan Water District of Southern California survey of consumer satisfaction — published in December 1999 — revealed that consumers were fairly satisfied with their toilets. The first question consumers were asked was, Why did they choose to install a low-flow toilet? As if the consumer had any choice in the matter! A manipulating question if there ever was one, but just the same, the survey results made it appear that these toilets were purchased strictly via consumer choice when they were actually given away as part of a free distribution program to take part in the survey.

Apparently, 28.6% of respondents of this survey said they installed a low-flow to “reduce their water bill”. This is where I will defer to the aforementioned multiple flushings necessary to guarantee protection from embarrassment to those who will be followed in the lavatory by someone you know, and who’s face you have to look at again at some point.

So, the moral of the story is Flush, Flush, Flush away, or be flush when thy neighbor comes across that which a single flush failed to flush away. Flush with embarrassment, one will tend to make sure that the next opportunity for multiple flushings is capitalized upon.

So bring back my 3.5, V-8 Hemi, 5-speed, dual-exhaust, water-pollutin’, American Standard deal of destruction, and get the government the hell out of my bathroom!

Karen De Coster is a politically incorrect CPA, and an MA student in economics at Walsh College in Michigan.

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