I think a potential difference, in general, between liberals and conservatives, particularly with regards to the fiscal aspects of government-led programs, is the scope of impact analysis. I tend to believe that liberals remain short-sighted on most of these and look at only the immediate “problem” (at least a problem in their eyes) and a potential solution (usually in the form of wealth redistribution couched in terms of “fairness”) without considering the broader implications. For example, I don’t think many liberals over the years considered what the implications were for a population explosion, then slow down, on the various entitlement programs. Instead of immediately dealing with it, they kicked the can down the road.
Well, as a number of our readers know, GorT lives in the very blue Montgomery County (that’s MoCo) in the People’s Republic of Maryland and two other Gormogons grew up in the same county as well. And, like many jurisdictions, many new laws went into effect on January 1st. One such law in MoCo was the new “bag tax”. Basically, at any retail establishment, if the consumer uses a paper or plastic bag to collect ones goods, the establishment is required to charge a 5-cent per bag tax. The primary driver of this legislation is to change consumer behavior in an attempt to reduce the one-time use plastic bag usage. Washington, DC has had a similar tax for the last two years and has seen a decline in plastic bag usage.
Keep in mind that the county has a very robust recycling program, particularly for paper products, which the paper bags would fall into. Paper bags from grocery stores are very popular for people to collect their paper recycling as the whole bag can then be tossed into the paper recycling container on collection day. Well, that option is either going to cost us more or be fading away. County Executive Ike Leggett said last year, “we would consider declining revenues from this legislation a win, because it means fewer bags in circulation and less government dollars spent on clean-up.” So with the county spending less on cleaning up are we going to see a reduction in county taxes as we won’t have to pay for those services? I’m not holding my breath.
Another side-effect of this legislation is the impact to the businesses. Many businesses use their bags as a simple advertisement tool. They also use them for periodic advertisement campaigns – printing promotional information like dates, deals and other information on the bags. Sometimes, establishments even allow other businesses to pay to print items on their bags. All of that will fade away as the use of these bags fades away. This is revenue and advertisement vehicles that are now lost to the business. Instead, it is increasingly likely that consumers will walk in with a random assortment of reusable bags. Striped bags, plain mesh bags, bags with logos from other stores now being openly advertised in your store. I’m waiting for the first waves of political and offensively-labeled bags to make headlines here. Just put it down – I’m calling it now.
Finally, there is a growing concern about a rise or change in shoplifting with the host of shoppers now bringing bags into stores. It could be that retail stores will need to increase security at some cost. I’m sure the county thought about that aspect too.
I’m all in favor of being a good steward of the Earth so don’t get me wrong. But when you live in a state that has largely been run by democrats and you live in a county that has, even more so, been led by democrats, and we’re seeing the increase in all sorts of taxes (bags, cell phones, water and sewer usage, property taxes, etc.) while little to nothing is being done to curb the spending and entitlement and onerous retirement packages, you can get a bit frustrated.
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.