Aspen, the nanny state | AspenTimes.com

Aspen, the nanny state

Dear Editor:

If it looks like a trail balloon and floats like a trial balloon …

So far, comments on the controversy over free bags at retail outlets have only managed to touch the tip of a snowflake on this particular iceberg.

What we should be talking about is the basic blueprint for social control so sweeping it should cause George Orwell to slap his decomposing forehead and say, “Why didn’t I think of that!”

Let’s begin with the concept that a municipality has the power and authority to pick and choose whatever goods or services they wish to selectively hamper (or ban!) in the marketplace. (I would greatly appreciate having some enterprising reporter ask area city attorneys to cite the constitutional, statutory, or charter provisions which empower government in this way – and not by giving an example of a current such tax or fee – but by actually pointing us all to the relevant legislative foundation for the selective taxation, or fee imposition, they are proposing.)

Now, add the modern bar-code and take a look at our future.

It is nice to know that cities won’t need to slash their budgets in the face of economic downturns given a vast source of revenue from fees which can be imposed without voter approval.

There is no practical difference between paper and plastic bags or any other product which consumes resources and landfill space, so a “fee” on any product sold in non-recyclable packaging is an obvious and probably inevitable extension of our scenario.

Sodium and sugar will not be far behind, though for a different set of equally altruistic rationalizations.

“Non-essential” or “luxury” items – whatever the box or bag they come in – may be more of a stretch, but are certainly within reach.

Need I go on? Suffice to say there is no logical limitation which would prevent dozens of fees from being imposed on every collection of items you take (in your own bag) from a store.

The “bag” proposal will not be challenged by the citizenry, who can’t be bothered with preserving their personal freedom. However, every manufacturer, retailer, and consumer advocate had better pull themselves together to fight this every inch of the way – or face a really dismal future.

Jeffrey Evans

Basalt


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