Nanny State Update: Regulating Lassie and Banning Baked Goods
After a week off, it’s an extra-large edition of the Nanny State update including bans on retrieving for golden retrievers, baking goods for bake sales, and hunting for treasure hunters.
Regulating Lassie: The Nanny State will try to regulate how you raise your kids, what you feed your families and how you can drive your own car. It’s no surprise that they want to control what your pets do too. In California, the nanniest of Nanny States, the state senate is considering SB 1221 which would restrict hunting activities for dogs by banning retrievers from actually retrieving. Next you won’t be able to play fetch with Fido because California claims it’s inhumane to make dogs run against their will.
Indiana Jones would be appalled: Historians and archeology enthusiasts in Fort Lee, Virginia will soon have trouble finding artifacts. The town recently banned the use of metal detectors because relic hunters find artifacts and sell them to pawn shops—not unlike archeologists who find artifacts and sell them to museums or “donate” them for a finder’s fee. She may be the first Nanny State archeologist we’ve encountered, but one woman hyperbolically defended the ban saying, “Nobody will ever know what’s been lost. Everybody loses. We lose our identity as Americans.” Additionally, public regions where people might search for artifacts have been designated “environmentally sensitive areas.” These sound like two pretty weak excuses to ban an outdoor hobby that many people enjoy and helps resurrect pieces of American history.
Shutting Down the Bake Sale: Fears over childhood obesity have provided a convenient façade for the thousands of regulations implemented across the country to combat the “obesity epidemic.” Following food bans in New York and California, the Massachusetts Public Health Department passed regulations banning the sale of sweets on school property including functions like bake sales. The ban goes into effect after August 1 and will not allow schools to opt out, as has been contended by some state lawmakers. Criticizing the department’s regulatory overreach, Massachusetts state senator Michale Knapik said, “I hate to be pejorative, but it's a bunch of do-gooders who really think they know better.” Well said sir, well said.
The Nanny State Tries to Defend Obama’s Excise Tax Hikes In defense of Obama’s national cigarette taxhike, a Nanny State pundit at the Huffington Post criticized Mitt Romney for advocating a repeal of the President’s highly regressive cigarette tax. According to the editorial, “Anyone who advocates repealing Obama's 2009 cigarette excise tax hike is risking serious ethical condemnation as well as fiscally pragmatic-oriented criticism.” This mindset is Nanny Statism at its worst. According to their logic, taxing cigarettes is supposed to help discourage smoking—while at the same time contending that it is ethically odious to repeal this tax because Obama will use the tax revenue to pay for more government healthcare. This begs the question how a policy can be expected to raise revenue while also effectively discouraging the purchase of the product from which the expected revenue would be gained. Ah, the paradox of paternalism.
New York Nanny Staters Attack a Loophole: Following the Nanny in chief’s cigarette tax hike, there’s more cigarette tax madness, from New York no less. Despite his abysmal record as Mayor Nanny, this isn’t a Michael Bloomberg driven tobacco tax. Nanny State lawmakers and advocates in Syracuse are pushing New York state to increase taxes on loose tobacco—the kind you use to roll your own cigarettes. Facing Obama and New York State’s high cigarette taxes, people are switching to self-rolled cigarettes and pipe tobacco. This loophole is primed for Nanny State closure because it takes away potential tax revenue from the government. In defense of the potential tax hikes, one Nanny Stater claimed, “We know cigarettes contribute to so many terrible diseases…we don't want to see all the progress that we've made in being able to raise these taxes to go backward.”
The Nanny State Wants to Force You to Quit Smoking: Not to be outdone by New York, Illinois—after failing to push its tobacco tax across the finish line last year—is considering a $1 per pack tax hike. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn hopes the tax increase willboth“help close a $2.7 billion Medicaid shortfall” and give people, “The final push they need to quit.” Given the $83 billion of unfunded liabilities the Land of Lincoln is holding the birthplace of Honest Abe might want to be a little more honest about its real budget problem – rampant overspending and unreasonable promises will never be solved by increasing taxes – much less those that target lower-income earners the most.
DC Council Member Wants to Ruin Your Good Time: DC Council Member Jim Graham has proposed a 6 cent tax increase on alcohol sales in bars, rather than opening the bars an hour longeras had been previously proposed. Apparently Graham doesn’t think District denizens can be trusted to spend an extra hour filling their government coffers (the horror – they might go home and use their publicly-taxed utilities, watch a movie on their highly-taxed cable or drink a soda, subject to the city’s sales tax. Even worse, they may go buy their own spirits, over half the price of which can be attributed to government taxes. Don’t forget the 5 cent bag tax consumers must pay to carry their purchases home). Also, he says, “The District of Columbia is not Las Vegas.” At least Graham can read a map, because his economics skills are lacking. Allowing bars to stay open is a win for free-market enterprise and personal choice. Taxing alcohol sales more will simply drive down alcohol consumption harming alcohol suppliers, bar owners and your good time.