Is Fee for Shopping Bags a Sacky Decision?

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Lauren Bush carrying her "FEED Bag," one of many alternatives to plastics.
Photo: Getty Images

Mayor Bloomberg wants to discourage you from doing everything he doesn't like. He won't let you smoke inside restaurants or bars (in fact, through cigarette taxes, he's trying to get you to stop altogether). He doesn't want you to drive in midtown during the day. He doesn't want you to even run over bikers anymore! So what's his latest incursion into your personal choices? He's going to try to stop you from using plastic bags at the supermarket, in order to save the environment. The nerve! It's not as though you don't save those bags under your kitchen sink until you have hundreds under there. You're going to use them someday — once the cockroaches are done building their sophisticated civilization inside, at least.

Bloomberg is hoping to add a six-cent tax to each plastic supermarket bag distributed. It's estimated that it will generate $16 million for the city each year, which is kind of chump change compared to the deficits we're facing. But the point is to change people's behavior. Seems ridiculous, right? A few cents here and there aren't going to change anyone's behavior! Except … when Ireland tried this in 2002, taxing each bag 33 cents, the use of the totes plummeted 94 percent in mere weeks. Now, the practice is "virtually nonexistent."

Better get a lid on your hamper, people. Those cockroaches have already developed democracy and a barter-and-trade system — they're not going anywhere.

In Mayor’s Plan, the Plastic Bag Will Carry a Fee [NYT]