I was struck recently by a stark asymmetry in how the government values the time of private individuals.
On the one hand, they insist on a high value for my time, with the state of California ruling that no one may sell their time for less than $15 an hour.
On the other hand, in numerous ways, the government values our time at zero. They, for example, treat recycling as "free" and ignore the value of the millions of man-hours spent sorting trash. The IRS certainly values our time at zero, as does most tax agencies. Certain sales tax agencies do provide a collection and paperwork credit (since technically the business is acting as an agent of the state in collecting the tax) but that credit generally amounts to pennies per hour of labor. Mono County California changed their tax filing process in a way that created thousands of extra man hours of private filing labor all to save a few dozen of their hours every 3 years on audits.
And then there is this. Germany is considering eliminating their unlimited autobahn speed limits to save energy:
…the head of Germany’s Federal Environmental Office, Andreas Troge, says a speed limit of 120 km/h on motorways “costs nothing and would immediately reduce C02 emissions by 2.5 million tonnes per year”.
That is it "costs nothing" as long as you value private individual's time at zero dollars an hour.