- If we had had a plastic bag tax back in the 90s, perhaps we would have been spared American Beauty.
A few years ago, Amanda Park Taylor devoted her Conscientious Objector column to the plastic bag tax, a five-cent-per-bag surcharge with all purchases, as a no-brainer policy, proven all over the civilized world to alter consumer behavior while raising money for preservation efforts.
Well, Washington D.C.’s plas-tax went into effect on the first of this month. And, to no one’s surprise, it’s already working: the Washington Post talks to grocery store managers who report giving out half as many plastic bags, or fewer, than usual. (The Post story is focused on the inconvenience and big-gubment interventionism of the bag tax, but that’s the false populism of the Metro section human interest story for you.)
In late 2008,
then-mayor Mike Bloomberg proposed a bag tax to make up for precipitous shortfalls in the city’s budget; the City Council killed the bill, anonymous Councilmen telling the Daily News that this eminently avoidable surcharge represented a “tax on working people” and a “tax on food.” How they feel about the litter collecting in gutters, along fences and in vacant lots in my working-class City Council district—and the taxes required to pay the people who clean it up—remains an open question.