Rich Lowe: Emotion sans fact

Advertisement

Before we rush to judgment on the merits of banning or charging a fee for use of plastic bags, how does this rise to the top of the Steamboat Springs City Council’s priority list? Water, police, fire protection, safety, policy to spur economic development, and yes, even dog leash laws all seem to be enough to keep the council busy. But adult day care, really?

More important, let’s examine some of the claims made by the proponents of this latest attempt to manage more of our life choices for us. First, the claim that plastic bags are expensive to manufacture is pure nonsense. Plastic grocery bags are prevalent in their use because they are cheap to manufacture and use. Try less than a penny each.

Second, the claim is made that they are bad for the environment. Did you know that most of the reusable bags being touted as the solution are manufactured in China and are made of plastic, other synthetic fiber and canvas? In the process of manufacturing these bags, they are colored and printed with various art and messages. Guess what? Many of these bags have been shown to contain lead and are being banned across America as we speak. We are now learning that when these bags are eventually discarded (yes, they eventually wear out) it is expected that the lead will seep into the ground water and pose a new risk to the environment. Another common affliction these reusable bags have is they “flake,” meaning the lead literally flakes onto your newly purchased groceries. Most people would surely agree lead poisoning is a greater threat to us humans than the continued use of plastic bags. Where are the lead poisoning do-gooders?

Did you know plastic grocery bags can be collected and recycled? Let’s try providing incentives to customers for returning bags for recycling rather than penalizing everyone with a form of use tax.

Third, reusable grocery bags have been shown to contain significant amounts of bacteria. A dangerous bacteria known as coliform grows and can cause other unintended consequences. The only solution to this issue is frequent washing of the bags. Well now, if we wash bags with flaking lead, where does the lead go? How about the fact that we are using detergents/soaps and water, all of which end up at the water treatment plant? It seems to me we are trading off a potential landfill problem for a water treatment plant problem, not to mention the lead and bacteria poisoning potential.

As with many things today, we seem to get caught up in the emotional hysteria to support what might appear to be a good thing. However, when we dig a bit deeper we often find there are two sides to the coin. If City Council is going to seriously consider this initiative, they should do so in a fully informed manner before making an emotional decision. Better yet, focus on higher value priorities.

Rich Lowe

Steamboat Springs

Comments

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Great comments, Rich.

I don't know about the lead argument though. Remember you're dealing with people who think it's environmentally sound to have mercury-filled light bulbs spread throughout their homes... and yours. The same mercury they so desperately wanted to eliminate that they were/ are willing to threaten to shut down power plants for emmiting it.

I was also wondering the other day why any supermarket would want to locate a store west of town (where it is really needed) when some beauracrat is gonna give them grief over their product bagging operations.

0

Fred Duckels 2 years, 10 months ago

These bags are going to be the ruin of us all, but on the other hand a fleet of empty buses seem to warm our hearts.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

As for "mercury filled light bulbs" - that is also full of crap. CFBs contain less than 5 milligrams of mercury, so it'd take over 5,000 to contain an ounce.

People have even calculated based upon coal power plant allowable mercury emissions that CFBs save enough in electricity consumption to have a net savings in released mercury even when CFBs are thrown into the garbage and not properly recycled.

Just as it only takes a few people on an otherwise empty bus to still be more fuel efficient at transporting people than a single occupancy vehicle.

0

Scott Ford 2 years, 10 months ago

From my perspective we miss a critical point if we allow the discussion about plastic shopping bag fee to become primarily an environmental issue. The real issue is imposing a fee for the use of the bags that the city collects. The Steamboat Springs City Council exceeds their authority to impose this or any other tax without a vote of the citizenry. Let's not play word games - this fee is a tax.

Rich - I remember several years ago City Council dedicated the better part of two meeting to discussing whether dogs swimming in the river should be allowed to swim without leashes. I remember thinking if this a big community issue - how fortunate we are to live in such a town where such items are important enough that City Council uses time to even discusses it.

I am reasonably confident that the City Council of Detroit does not allow the topic of dogs swimming with or without leashes to occupy the majority of time for two city council sessions. No, the Detroit City Council discussion likely center on how to better protect fire personnel from being shot at, or the growing conflicts with street gangs entering school buildings , etc. So regardless of one's opinion about plastic bags - it is nice to live in a town where we have the luxury to consider this a priority item on the City Council agenda. Agreed?

City Council members need to ask themselves this question, "Is this the best use of our time?" Perhaps, what else is going on that is more important? Or, "Well, it's been another quiet week in Lake Wobegon (Steamboat Springs) - my hometown."

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott F. I do not care if City Council has time for minutiae. It is fine they have time to consider this issue. But just because they have time does not mean they have to pass something.

Also, city government should not fall into the trap of cynically playing language games to pass something they like. If they decide that this really is such a good idea then they should not try to find a way to claim it is not a tax and instead should proceed as if it is a worthwhile tax. Otherwise, a subsequent City Council could use the same semantic game to observe that alcohol is harmful and pass an alcohol "fee" per ounce of alcohol purchased. Or a "fee" on absolutely whatever they want.

This city council, many of whom where elected as reformers after the Iron Horse purchase debacle, should have higher standards than that. Or they can just as easily be swept out.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Rich, I agree. Let's avoid hysteria.

I attended the hearing to see the Casey's Pond item, and saw this one while waiting. The cost of producing the plastic bags was probably mentioned in passing, but I don't recall it being a rationale for bag fees. Why do you begin with that?

Yes, the environment was the entire point. In your own words, if we are going to seriously consider this initiative, we should do so in a fully informed manner before making an emotional decision. That's why it is disappointing that you never address the negatives of the status quo in your letter. Your entire focus is on "one side of the coin".

Lead? A ban on the alternative bags containing lead was a good step and makes perfect sense. Having such a ban, why is lead part of your argument against the alternative bags?

An interest in environmental damage would count the volume of alternative bag vs. disposable bags, taken by weight and pollutants. It would count the effect of each on wildlife. I think the thin plastic of disposables is eaten by some species causing death. But let's look at the effects of the alternatives too.

You raise some worthwhile points, such as the flaking. But shouldn't you also confront the information in favor of this proposal? The presentation to council referenced studies which show the incentives you suggest do not work, and that fees actually do work.

Either way, I disagree with you that this is a waste of time.

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

If my snowmobile emitted the same amount of mercury as a house full of CFB's it would be considered a huge deal, no?

Scott is right that this is a tax and it's not within city councils' authority.

Stay silent long enough, allow the police power of government to operate outside its confines long enough and sooner or later, when that power has set enough precedent, then that police power will turn against even those who previously thought it it was a grand 'ole thing. Pastor Martin Neimoller describes exactly where this kind of "free-lance" government ends. Frankly, watching the big-government crowd impaled on the very unconstitutional power they helped create is one of the few things I plan to enjoy as my country dissolves into the ash-heap of history!

The other comparison between the light bulbs and the plastic bags is what Fred alluded to: Both are petty, ridiculously small measures that MAKE NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER to life on this planet. They are a "feel-good" action resulting only in more authority for government and the greens and less autonomy for individuals. Nothing more.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Rich Lowe, The lead argument is a false issue since lead in reusable shopping bags is not essential and is not desired. Reusable shopping bags with lead are considered defective and it would be simple enough to ban lead in reusable shopping bags.

There is a real issue that if people wash their reusable shopping bags often enough then they can use more energy and resources washing their bags than is saved in not using plastic shopping bags.

Sledneck, If you snowmobile emitted mercury then it would be a big deal since there is no way there should be mercury in it to be emitted.

But mercury is not that toxic. Older thermostats use a blob of mercury to connect the circuit and there was never the mass emergency recall or great concern over how they are disposed. You would not want to eat it, but high school chemistry students used to touch it without being wiped out. It is a risk factor for a number of medical conditions and overall the population would be better off with lower concentration of mercury in their body.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Steve, "An interest in environmental damage" would first show there is quantifiable damage from plastic shopping bags. And not that plastic is bad and since plastic shopping have plastic then plastic shopping bags are bad. Last time I went shopping, I had tomatoes in a plastic veggie bag, yogurt in plastic containers, milk in a plastic container, cereal in a box with a plastic bag, meat with stryofoam wrapped in plastic and so on. So if I had used a plastic bag then it would have been a small percentage of the total amount of plastic I was bringing home.

The fundamental dishonesty of the advocates of using plastic bags is what really bothers me.

First, they want to use semantic games to find a way to claim it could be a fee and not a tax. City could probably get away with it because it'd take someone willing to go to court and fight it and this city would probably appeal it all the way to the State Supreme Court. So City wouldn't be right or honest, just too big with too many lawyers to be worth fighting.

Second, the claims of harm from plastic shopping bags have been quite weak that tend to switch to plastic is bag and not that plastic shopping bags are bad. In contrast, there pretty solid reporting from the BBC that the effect of banning plastic bags in Ireland has resulted in a significant increase in the number of plastic trash bags, the poor pay an inordinate percentage of the costs of not having reusable shopping bags when at the store, that already a large number of plastic shopping bags are reused, and that plastic shopping bags are a tiny fraction of a percentage of people's garbage. (Few are truly recycled because they are typically reused into trash bags and so are thrown away. But there will be a plastic bag used for the trash, either a reused plastic shopping bag or a plastic trash bag).

Third, even if their argument that plastic bags are bad then the proposed solution of a funding source for YVP makes no sense. If they are that bad then they need to be banned, not be used to fund an organization that among their many concerns is trying to reduce their usage.

I just hope City Council votes on this prior to the election so we can kick them out if they pass it. At least the Iron Horse crew bought it before the election so they didn't have two years to drop big money into that sinkhole trying to redevelop it.

0

exduffer 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott W- you must have touched too much mercury in your younger days if you think the City's lawyers can win a lawsuit.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Exduffer, Didn't say City's lawyers would win. I said they'll fight all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court. To make it clearer, I could have said "they'll appeal losing decisions ..."

So the conversation an upset citizen would have with a lawyer would be like: So yeah, looks like a tax, but you realize that City pays me only if you end up winning. So I need to paid something for the court case which we should win. And then I need to be paid something for each round of appeals presumably up to the Colorado Supreme Court. And then they will probably find excuses to justify dragging out reimbursing me even though my fees will be . Are you ready to pay me $100+K on the expectation that in 3 years the City will reimburse you?

Can anyone name the cases which the City lost at the local level and simply acknowledged they were wrong? Certainly seems to be more cases they've lost and relentlessly unsuccessfully appealed.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

And accidental deletion above, full version of sentence would have been: (presumed lawyer based upon SB's previous actions speaking) And then they will probably find excuses to justify dragging out reimbursing me even though my fees will be a fraction of their costs.

It does appear to me that City's legal strategy is thus of pure intimidation. That the City is far less concerned on being right than of using their resources to make it extremely difficult to fight the city. Look at all the resources spent fighting the Trousil's over trail access when the relevant legal document is absolutely clear - no public trail access until cabin is built. So maybe I believe Ed Trousil scammed the locals by being paid for presumed trail access that he early on realized that the city signed a contract that failed to require that he provide trail access. That doesn't mean there is any reason to believe a court would invalidate a written contract that specifically mentioned trail access. Except the City spent over $100K on City lawyers for that lost cause.

A city more respectful of their citizen's right to question the legality of the city's actions would instead have a policy of accepting the initial court decision and would allow the City Attorney to appeal only if the City Attorney was highly confident that there was a series legal error. And thus, would evaluate the City Attorney's job performance based upon winning and not losing appeals.

(I note that Routt County seems to avoid legal fights and I cannot recall any cases which they've lost. And I'm pretty sure Routt County has not lost any cases on appeals).

0

ybul 2 years, 10 months ago

Steve,

He did not focus on one side of the coin, the option of an incentive to recycle was a great option - far better than simply a tax to provide reusable bags - that themselves have unintended consequences that we do not foresee either.

0

Rick Akin 2 years, 10 months ago

This is a nice lampoon by Mr. Lowe, but don't lose sight of his larger point, which is, "Why is the City Counsel trying to micromanage my life?" I really don't care what you carry your groceries home in, and you should extent me the same courtesy It is well and good to discuss the merits of plastic vs. paper vs. cloth. You might convince me to change my habits. But just because you think one manner of conveyance is better is no reason to use the police power of the government to force me to do things your way. Good job, Rich.

0

Rick Akin 2 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, "City Council" not "City Counsel." I would never make it as a secretary.

0

hereandthere 2 years, 10 months ago

It would be interesting to hear Mr. Akin and Mr. Lowes' position on the mmj dispensery debate. I wonder if their "Why is City Council trying to micromanage my life?" and "no reason to use the police power of government to force me to do things your way." would still hold true? Although they have been silent on this issue, one would think that their views on limited gov't (which I support) would motivate them to take this obvious intrusion into one's personal life as a battle worth fighting. Just wondering.

0

Rob Douglas 2 years, 10 months ago

The next time this comes up before City Council, I certainly hope someone will ask Catherine Carson to explain why she believes her neighbors here in the Yampa Valley are too stupid to decide which type of bag to use when they purchase groceries. Because at the end of the day, that is precisely Carson's position. Here's how Carson sees it: A) Her neighbors are too stupid to decide how to transport their groceries home in a way that works best for them under the totality of their individual circumstances. and, B) She wants the government to confiscate money from private businesses in order to fund her operation so she can teach her neighbors to be as smart as she thinks she is. It really is that simple. How do I know it is that simple? Because, if Carson's true goal was to protect the environment, she'd simply ask the council to direct the police department to more aggressively enforce the pre-existing littering law as: A) There is a far larger amount of litter on our streets than just Big Box store plastic bags, and, B) That litter is just as - in some cases more so - dangerous to the environment. But, as every thinking American knows, this has nothing to do with litter or the environment and everything to do with the latest statist fetish and a huge money grab by some council members whose eyes light up every time they see another tax they can thrust upon folks already struggling to make ends meet. I look forward to this potential ordinance being widened to all retailers in Steamboat. Because, if you don't think that's where Carson and her cronies are headed with this, you better smell the coffee and look around the state.

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott., There is no way there should be mercury in light bulbs either. They work just fine without it... just like my sled.

0

Kevin Nerney 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott Ford for President and Rob Douglas for VP. the only two guys how make any sense these days. Sledneck for Speaker of the House

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Sledneck, It is not as if engineers want to put mercury in CFBs, but it is not so easy to get things to glow white at low temps which is needed for energy efficiency. But apparently mercury will glow with UV at low temp and then the inside of the bulb is coated with that white stuff that converts UV to white light.

But the mercury issue is yet another of those false concerns over a trace amount that is insignificant based upon common sense. It can be shown that the improved energy of CFBs uses enough less electricity that it reduces mercury emissions more at the power plant than is contained in the CFB.

Plastic shopping bags are not ruining the environment. Neither are CFBs. Sure, you are fine to not like either, but please do not bring up fake claims that either are a problem.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

I trust that City Council will weigh the merits of this bag fee and make a decision they are comfortable with. I believe this is a long term question, and personally think council should ponder how our kids will judge this one. Do nothing?

But I'll write to say I've yet to meet the person who feels their neighbors in Steamboat are "stupid". Such an argument, as Rob Douglas makes above, inserts his own words into the mouth of a fictional, villainous fool. Rob consistently sets the low bar for Steamboat's conversation.

If you've attended a free concert or other large event in Steamboat or nearby, the lady taking your trash to sort into recycling was Catherine Carson, or her volunteers. Feel free to disagree with the value of recycling. But Carson's effort is well intended. To say her motives are selfish and about revenue is simply not the case. Carson led the effort months ago bringing those green bags to Routt County. Thousands have been sold for a buck. No one made a dime.

And I'll write to express my disappointment that the Pilot chooses to ignore the studies Carson has presented. Simply put, they show that fees work and incentives do not. An Ireland bag fee started in 2002 has diminished plastic bags by 97%. That's probably the best case, but if the Pilot wanted to present both sides of bag fees, they might show some interest in Carson's information.

0

housepoor 2 years, 10 months ago

This kind of like Texas Gov. Rick Perry signing a state law that required inoculation against a sexually-transmitted disease for sixth-grade girls

"Why is the Govenor of Texas trying to micromanage my life?"

Oh wait that is different......

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Little would-be dictators on every corner telling me which bulbs and bags to use is something I consider one hell of a huge problem.

Oh good. I'm glad I rank at least above Rob on Lewi's list. Sorry Rob.

Carsons effort may be well-intended as Lewi says but I always heard that's what the road to Hell was paved with... good intentions.

"Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic ." -- Fredric Bastiat

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Steve, "I believe this is a long term question, and personally think council should ponder how our kids will judge this one. Do nothing?"

Are you arguing that if government fails to act then nothing ever gets done?

I am perfectly willing say that government does not need to act on creating a bag tax, but that City Council is free to give money to YVR. And that YVR is free to ask all retailers about all aspects of shopping bags including asking for signage suggesting that YVR be allowed to put a donation jar near the checkout plastic bags asking for a dime per bag donation.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott W., Of course not. Some decisions should weigh the interests of the next generation. I think this is one of those.

I will be content with council's path on this. Not interested in arguing either way. I posted because Carson does not deserve the derision I saw online. Also because I've yet to read in the Pilot about any of her supporting information. Don't understand that at all.

It is bizarre to watch the CC hearings and also read these blogs. 2 very different worlds. The information is markedly different. And in this case, the majorities are reversed.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Steve, I read the supporting information in the City Council packet. It was pathetic. Went from plastic shopping bags to suddenly plastic in general as a pollutant. Presented no evidence that plastic bags from inland cities are part of the ocean plastic issue. BTW, some coastal cities have been dumping their trash at sea for years so maybe that is the problem, not what happens in SB.

For me the far more interesting facts was how paper bags take many more BTUs to create than plastic bags and how a pound of plastic can be recycled for a mere 27 BTUs while paper bags was about 500. So that would argue that if any bag should be banned then it should be paper bags.

So considering YVR was unable to provide the City Council with solid supporting evidence then it is hardly surprising Pilot has failed to print an article with solid supporting evidence.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott W, This fee would be on paper bags too. Haven't heard anyone saying Stbt bags went into the ocean.

Reading the same packet, I would consider this supporting evidence: "...in 2002 the Republic of Ireland established a 15 Euro cent tax on plastic bags (roughly equivalent to about 28 U.S. cents per bag today), applied to consumers at the point of sale. In the first year of this policy, consumers used 90 percent fewer plastic bags. The tax grew relatively less effective over time, so the nation increased the tax in 2007. Overall, plastic bags have gone from 5 percent to less than 0.25 percent of the waste stream.

Washington, D.C. provides another example. After the district implemented a much smaller 5 cent tax on plastic bags, the number of bags distributed by food retailers fell from 22.5 million per month to 3.3 million per month. That is a de- crease of more than 85 percent. This ac- tion translated into an observed decrease in plastic pollution in area rivers and streams. According to the Alice Ferguson Foundation, since implementation of the bag fee, river cleanup efforts have turned up 66 percent fewer plastic bags."

Solid supporting evidence.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, evidence that a tax can decrease usage. How about evidence of relevance? Assuming 400 per year per person is correct then since a case of 1000 weighs 11 pounds then that says 4.4 pounds of shopping bag plastic per year or about .2 ounce per day.

Meanwhile, average person in USA generates about 4.6 pounds of trash per day. So plastic trash bags account for about .26%, about a quarter of 1% of a person's trash and about 3% of their plastic trash.

And that assumes that plastic shopping bags are not reused. BBC survey suggests that many are reused and also how plastic trash bags sales increased 40% in Ireland afterwards.

And yet plastic trash bags is the symbol of being green? What a farce!

How about going after something real and not focusing on something merely symbolic?

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like Lewi proved a point that leftists are rarely willing to admit: Anything you tax you get LESS of.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott, Yampa Valley Recycles does go after "something real". You may forget they are working on a lot more of that bulk than just plastic bags. You'll probably even respect that when you reconsider. So no, I doubt plastic bags are "the symbol of green" for these folks. They get used to little thanks for everything else they do, why would plastic bags become what really matter? It all matters to them.

And it should matter to your opinion of YVR that they are working on more than this one issue you oppose. If you've attended a free concert or other large event in Steamboat or nearby, the lady taking your trash and plastic bottles for recycling was probably Catherine Carson. Meaningless? You make her sound like someone so far beneath you, because the 30th recycling item of her year displeases you.

Plastic bags are irrelevant. 3% of plastics is too little. Should they have to wait until reaching some percent of success on plastic bottles before they care about the plastic bags? I don't think so.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Returning to my reason for posting about "sans fact".

The information I post (above) from the council packet, supporting YVR and Catherine Carson's request for bag fees in Steamboat, seem to be missing from the Pilot's public weighing of this issue. Instead Pilot articles write that Carson and YVR "hope" that the bag fees will work.

The Pilot editorial board has written its own opinion that the bag fees will not work. You know Pilot, it's fine to make exactly that argument. But doing so while withholding evidence to the contrary?

What kind of newspaper does that?

0

Rick Akin 2 years, 10 months ago

So where exactly does the power and authority of government stop, if at all? I can think of lots of things that I don't like, or that I want, or that might negatively affect future generations. Should I just start lobbying? What, if any, rights are reserved to the people in the minority?
Can the majority tell me how to arrange the furniture in my living room?

0

Rob Douglas 2 years, 10 months ago

http://uanews.org/pdfs/GerbaWilliamsSinclair_BagContamination.pdf

The study concludes: 1) Consumers almost never wash reusable bags 2) Large numbers of bacteria were found in every reusable bag, but none in new bags or plastic bags 3) Coliform bacteria including E. coli were found in half of the bags tested 4) Bacteria were capable of growth when stored in the trunks of cars 5) A potential significant risk of bacterial cross contamination exists from using reusable bags to carry groceries 6) Hand or machine washing reduced the numbers of bacteria in reusable bags by >99.9% (Unfortunately, almost no one interviewed ever washed their reusable bags. Public unawareness of the potential risks seems almost universal.) 7) Requiring printed instructions on reusable bags that they be washed between uses or the need to separate raw foods from other food products

Based on this one study - and because my feelings tell me it's true - the City Of Steamboat Springs should ban the use of reusable bags. After all, it has been demonstarted that people using reusable bags are too stupid to decide for themselves to either wash their reusable bags or use non-reusable bags. As these reusable bag people are too stupid to make the individual choice to protect the environment and stop spreading deadly bacteria in our grocery stores, it is of utmost importance that our City Council protect us from these people that are too stupid to make the choice to stop using bags that are a threat to the public health of this community. Finally, children are at the most risk of being poisoned by these reusable bags felons because their parents are too stupid to make the choice between an infected reusable bag and a clean store provided plastic bag that will end up on Mt. Everest or in the Atlantic Ocean by sunset of the day of use. Therefore, if this community loves children it will ban reusable bags and by decree mandate that we all share a group hug.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Rick, I've spent some recent time asking myself the same thing, since the Republican candidates raised the question of legislating vaccines in Texas. My NBC newscast, heavily sponsored by pharmaceuticals, was quick to rebut any risks of those vaccines, but I have friends who express a different experience. Would I want that law in Colorado?

Scott Ford used the example of a health fee on glazed donuts. Hard to get a take on that one, given that we subsidize ingredients of that donut in the first place.

I know you and I would place these line differently, but its worth responding. I am trying to sift the important differences between plastic bags, vaccines and glazed donuts. Its a valid question.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Steve, I didn't say that YVR did nothing substantial overall, I said that plastic bags was not a substantial issue.

Sure, it'd be ideal if people reduced their plastic trash by 3% (well actually closer to 1.8% because about 40% of shopping bags are reused as trash bags and so are substituting for another plastic bag). But in the real world where there are limited resources then you go after the bigger and easier targets first.

The main reason this is an attractive target is because it would have large corporations responsible for creating a dedicated revenue stream for YVR.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Rick, Where do the limits of government end? In a legal sense, almost never.

I consider myself a libertarian liberal and I think government should trust it's citizens to make reasonable decisions for themselves. Government gets involved when one person's decision can seriously affect others.

It makes sense, in general, for schools to require vaccines because there are kids for solid medical reasons that cannot take vaccines. Since the science is well settled that the average kid can harmlessly be vaccinated then it is wrong to put at risk those kids that cannot be vaccinated. And note that schools allow parents to opt out of vaccination, but do not allow simple inaction to allow a large number of unvaccinated kids.

As for Gardisal, it should not be mandated because the disease can reasonably be avoided. It is certainly wise for girls to take because the risks of taking the vaccine are far less than the risks of HPV. I do not believe Rick Perry was bought by Merck, but I think he was seduced by the thought of how government can do good without concern for it being consistent with his governing philosophy.

As for glazed donuts and sugary drinks, regulating that suggests a lack of confidence that people can make their own reasonable decisions. But it'd be fine for school cafeterias to have nutritional standards for everything they serve and thus not serve either.

If plastic trash is that bad to the environment (a shared resource) then we should first be able to have solid science that plastic is bad for the environment. Then we need to look at all source of plastic trash and then figure out the most cost effective to remove the greatest amount of plastic from the waste stream.

But I have no problems with collecting taxes from those with the most money and providing a safety net of public services so we can say that people in this country are not starving and can have a roof over their head.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

And Rick Atkin, I have to say it is nice to have you posting on these boards. It seemed odd having an institute with aspirations of having national significance that was silent on all local issues.

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott W.,

There is no such thing as a libertarian liberal. The classic definition of "liberal" might support that claim, but the modern version of liberal makes such a notion impossible. And from what I read from you, you are most certainly NOT a classic liberal but rather a modern one.

"In a legal sense, almost never..." Are you kidding me? Where, exactly do you get your "law"???? When I refer to the Constitution, the supreme law of this land, (call me old-fashioned but that's where I still like to get MY law) it is VERY, VERY clear as to the legal authority and the limits of law. To say that there are virtually no limits to government is to deny the constitution and to exopose yourself as ANYTHING BUT a libertarian.

I recognize that todays government THINKS it has no limitations. I also realize that most of the American Sheeple don't know which end of the tube the round comes out of, constituionally. However, gubbamint and an ill-informed electorate notwithstanding, there is ABSOLUTELY a defined limit to government. The largest single reason that limit is so opaque to so many is not because it is a difficult or complicated issue but because we have strayed so very, very far from it.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Sledneck, My comment of "almost never" is real world answer which is why I said "In a legal sense".

You think you have rights, but if you were to go to court then you'd almost never win saying your rights are being infringed. You think you have property rights and were denied something simple? Well, you have basically no chance to win the argument that they lack the right to do what they did. All you can really argue is they failed to follow proper procedures. What are the legal limits of eminent domain? Basically none, they can take your property and give it to someone else.

Saying that your reading of the Constitution gives you all sorts of right is pretty pointless when judges don't agree with you.

0

exduffer 2 years, 10 months ago

Better yet Phoebe, how about a driving around the parking lot in my workout clothes while I try to get a closer spot (because I am too tired from working out) so I can use my reusable bags tax?

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Phoebe, You post a useful link. 1st paragraph:

" Beginning Sept. 1, Hungarians will have to pay a 10 forint (€ 0.37) [$.53] tax on foods with high fat, sugar and salt content, as well as increased tariffs on soda and alcohol. The expected annual proceeds of €70 million [$100 million] will go toward state health care costs, including those associated with addressing the country’s 18.8 percent obesity rate, which is more than 3 percent higher than the European Union average of 15.5 percent according to a 2010 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development…"

You didn't elaborate on any pros or cons within your link. But your post to "Our Drug Problem" suggests you appreciate the impact of diet on health issues later in life. It would be nice to have your further input.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

I think Phoebe's tone and sarcastic comment suggested she thought it was yet another government trying to control citizen's basic personal decisions.

Might as well make it against the law to be obese. And enforce it by giving all people ration cards that limits the amount of food they may purchase. And if you do a lot of exercise in a day then you can ask your master for some extra food.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

I asked Phoebe for her thoughts. Her other post was actually a very sincere opinion of the harms stemming from unhealthy food.

Scott W, your own answer was a joke. Joking aside, we project health care costs to be the most significant part of the national deficit problem, and it is already swamping many states, Should we not consider addressing and reducing the sources of those costs? Or should we laugh at anyone who would consider such a thing if it infringes on your individual freedoms?

And choose which makes more sense: your post just above, or taxing your glazed donut.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Better, if Phoebe's opinion of sugar heavy diets becomes further proven to be a significant health cost, which would you choose to address it: 1) do nothing 2) your post 3) tax sugar

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Steve, How about neither making sense?

It is not as if eating fatty foods or sugary drinks makes people fat. Healthy people can eat that stuff and not be fat. You can tax the heck out of some foods and fat people will still find enough food to get fat. Might as well outlaw home TVs, video games and computers since sedentary lifestyle is a far more direct cause of getting fat.

Government cannot stop people from getting fat. People have to decide not to be fat which means exercise or a bit less food.

How about a person's weight be between them and their healthcare provider? You know the entity the person is paying to provide their healthcare? If being fat means such higher medical expenses then maybe they'll do something about if it costs them more.

And any government healthcare simply has to go to a rationed list of covered procedures that are cost effective use of the money to be spent and no reason that list couldn't vary based upon the person's overall fitness. Might not make sense to give an obese person a hip replacement and so on. Now the person sees the cost of their obesity and has greater incentives to do something about it.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott W, and Scott F, since you inserted glazed donuts into this,

It is exactly as if eating fatty foods or sugary drinks makes people fat. Other factors like exercise and genes reduce the impact, but the cause of negative health effects is well accepted. These foods will cause a significant chunk of our health spending going forward. And like it or not, this conversation is about the national deficit, unless your plan is to end Medicare and Medicaid. Good luck with that. Aside from that nagging deficit, your health insurance premiums are paying for others' obesity as well.

Wedel suggests being fat prevents you from getting a hip replacement. But preventative measures like a corn syrup tax that incentivize people away from ever getting to that ugly point - that is something you reject in the name of liberty? Everyone has a right to gorge on tax free donuts, right? But sorry, you lost your rights to a new hip when you hit 220 lbs?

Feel free to go there. Just don't say the fellow at CC who supported a tax on glazed donuts is the fool. In the realm of our national debt, he may prove to be a lot smarter than you.

Enjoy your tax free donuts. Double down on freedom and have 2 of those ugly suckers.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Well, what are the chances that taxing fatty foods and sugary drinks will cause fewer people to become obese? Or is it just another way to find an excuse to tax lots of people because it is in some way linked to some issue?

I suppose we could ban fatty foods including meats, ban sugar and somehow make sure people don't eat too much carbs.

Or if it is such a crisis and if being obese causes such higher health care costs then they need to pay more or get less. Basic economics.

Certainly makes more sense than taxing donuts eaten by healthy people.

Of course, joke of the situation is that countries with health care systems that cost half as much per person as ours in the USA have citizens that regularly visit their doctors and so are much better about getting a doctor's help on the health risks and how to stay at a proper weight.

0

sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

Not all obesity is caused by food selection, for the record. Some folks just hit the genetic roulette wheel unfavorably. Being overweight is not equivocal to moral failure, folks.

Back to the bags, though.

Two unconnected thoughts. First, do the grocery stores ever wash the carts? Say someone has a reusable bag with dripping raw fresh chicken at home, then brings the same unwashed bag back to the grocery cart to shop with, and afterwards someone ELSE puts their bags in it, then hauls it home to their kitchen counter... do we not have a classic recipe for cross-contamination? Maybe bacteria wouldn't survive the journey, but viruses surely could.

Next, impossible idea but an idea at least. We have miles upon miles of standing dead timber which could be pulped and converted to paper in the right circumstances, and put a lot of people to work in the process. We could eliminate an enormous fire hazard as well.

Paper's not as cheap as plastic but recyclable, renewable, and remunerative. And provides a fuel or compost source after hauling groceries. And doesn't strangle wildlife as far as I know as it decomposes.

Maybe CO residents could get free or discounted lifetime paper bags if we offered the raw materials to a pulp business, or started one like a WPA project.

I'm not an economist but am trying to think "out of the bag" a little. We can grow trees but not plastic here.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

sedgemo, Perhaps woven baskets would be an option at some stores, somewhat similar to the plastic baskets already prevalent at the stores selling groceries.

Its not my intent to judge anyone. Certainly genes play a role for some even with a good diet. I'll eat ice cream too. This isn't about morals for another reason. Morality is a very weak argument to apply to a market, given it has so little effect compared to price. Marketing is probably a bigger factor than morality.

But it is now about obesity. Pheobe's link above says Europe has an obesity rate averaging 15.5 % of the population. Here is the U.S. :

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC: “In 1995, not a single state in the country had an obesity rate above 20 percent of the population. Now all the states but one do, and Colorado, the only one, is barely hanging on, with 19.8 percent.” (NBC)

Those same numbers -- now considered the lowest in the country -- would’ve marked the highest end of the scale just 15 years ago. And today, a dozen states -- mostly in the southeast -- have an obesity rate above 30 percent.

On our way to reducing plastic, Scott Ford wanted a discussion about how that would affect his glazed donuts. I would love his response to the above.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott W, On the topic of less healthy foods, I suggest lesser steps can bring important results. We should start by ending subsidies that push inordinate amounts of the wrong ingredients, corn syrup in particular, into our food.

We should be reluctant to ban things. I agree with you. But at least sell things at a price that attempts to reflect their full impacts. In this case, on our nation's health, and also on our health insurance premiums.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

What is there for Scott F to respond to? If you think it is silly to have a plastic bag tax then it is silly to have a glazed donut tax. Only those that think a plastic bag tax makes sense are being asked if that also means sense to have a glazed donut tax.

Being overweight is not about morals, but for the great majority of people it does come down to priorities. Make it high enough of a personal priority then everyone can be at a reasonable weight.

From what I can tell, there have been fatty and cane sugar foods for a very long time. It is hardly reasonable to say they have remained about the same and yet obesity has skyrocketed so the problem is fatty foods.

High fructose corn syrup is another matter and the increase in its usage has paralleled increases in obesity. I do not know if it is a cause of obesity or more of a consequence of obesity because there has also been a huge increase in sedentary lifestyle. It might be plausible to ban it from foods. And certainly reasonable to make grocery stores show how much high fructose corn syrup is in what. It is obviously being used as a cheap filler in some foods - the cheap bucket ice cream may be more than 50% corn syrup. How that is still considered ice cream and not frozen corn syrup seems deceptive to me.

0

John Fielding 2 years, 10 months ago

. This whole issue ought to become an opportunity instead of a burden. If we work together we can create a solution that will gain us an improved sense of community and national recognition as an innovator in government/business/community service cooperation.

I propose that we try the positive incentive approach to change behaviors. Lets pay people to recycle, double your bag fee back when you return it, triple if you have used it multiple times.

Here is how it could work. We create are recyclable bag durable enough for a few uses, charge a small fee (a nickle?) when the bag is purchased, add a stamp each time it is reused, then refund the purchase price and a per use bonus when it is recycled.

We fund the program with advertising on the bag. (I will commit my store not only to become an advertiser but to offer a discount to anyone who redeems their bags there.) If we sell the ad space for a penny per bag, ($1000 per 100,000) for a sixth of a side that's 12 cents per bag, plus a penny or two more charge to the store that uses them, (competitive with paper for a lot more durable bag, but more than the nasty disposable bags.)

We select advertisements that are colorful, and offer added discounts to shoppers, but mainly that promote Steamboat as a resort town with a sustainability minded community that does not force you to do it their way,

The business sector benefits, the community service sector administers the program and retains the fees from bags that are kept as souvenirs (or thrown away by those who also waste their aluminum, paper and steel), and the government, if it is to be involved at all, issues a formal request to local retailers, (in lieu of an ordinance) that people who reuse bags not be charged for the "free" bags others require,not by an individual discount but by adding up the costs of purchase, handling and recycling of the disposable bags and a profit, then making that the price one must pay per bag.

In other words, all bags would have a cost, (not a fee) of say 1 or 2 cents for the one use plastic we are trying to reduce, 2 to 4 for paper that might be used twice, or 5 cents for a nice durable recyclable plastic bag that gives back a dime or more when it is returned.

Win, win, win.

.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott Ford, You brought up the fat fee on glazed donuts. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe your statement to CC was that the government should not be using fees or taxes to modify consumer behaviors. Glazed donuts are an easier argument for you. Glazed donuts are an easier argument for me too.

Because diabetes, obesity, and other health issues will be significant factors in our nation's struggle with future budgets. Health care is widely acknowledged to be the single largest problem in future deficits.

So in my opinion, my friend, I think your argument opposing YVR is oversimplified to the point of disfunction. YVR cannot engage you in a debate on the merits of our deficits, or of glazed donut fees. But I will.

To your point, glazed donuts : Do you think the diet presented at Dunkin' Donuts and future Medicare budgets are unrelated?

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott F, I am saddened to learn from Steve Lewis' post that you suffer from diabetes, obesity and other health issues. Someone in your ill health probably should not have a diet exclusively of glazed donuts.

Get well my friend.

This sad news of your ill health is a surprise to me since you looked fine the last time I saw you. And I thought your glazed donuts comment was meant as an example asking whether it is appropriate to tax a treat shared by many people. That you were trying to make a point that there are an endless list of personal choices that others can question and that it makes no sense for government to work down that endless list of choices that someone may want to tax.

Oh well, now knowing of your ill health puts that argument in a different context. And glazed donuts should be highly taxed so that you can no longer afford your diet consisting entirely of glazed donuts.

So the next time I think I might enjoy a glazed donut, but it is too expensive because of punitive taxes suggested by Steve Lewis, at least I can console myself that I am being denied a glazed donut for a worthwhile cause because you too are being denied glazed donuts so that you can improve your health.

Thank you Steve Lewis for saving Scott Ford's life by arguing to deny him glazed donuts.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott W., My above posts repeatedly express my concern is about Scott's position re: our ability to address future deficit and Medicare over runs. You create a stupid fiction and attribute it to me?

And you feel compelled to respond for Scott and Phoebe. To a lesser degree, that would be fine, but as a habit? Why do you have so little interested in what others beside Scott Wedel have to say?

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott Ford, I would still like to hear your reply.

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott, Touche. Very good point. Rights ain't worth a damn if nobody is willing to enforce them. And apparently that train has long since left the station.

0

sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

How about turning this argument around, and find ways to make healthy food LESS expensive, rather than taxing the heck out of things we think people shouldn't eat. Or at least use those taxes to subsidize healthier foods for anyone who wants them. I'd love to eat organic, home-grown fresh produce and meat again, but with no time and no land it's far less time and $ consuming to eat fast foods. I'm not able to store foods anymore, either, and miss the years on the farm with a big garden and a big freezer.

I am reminded of a history class which taught that being portly was once a sign of being wealthy, since it meant you could eat well, and being thin was closely connected with scarcity. Nowadays the tables have turned, to be uber thin costs more than simple survivors can typically afford.

Can't we find a better way than to punish people (and their kids) for buying what they think tastes good? And just how would we get the ag lobby to abandon high fructose corn syrup in nearly everything on our shelves? Plenty of agribusinesses grew up on corn subsidies and still count on that market, along with ethanol.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

But peoplr in the USA already pay the lowest percentage of income for food of any country. And that ranges from modestly less than UK to half of what Japanese pay. Japan has a far stronger cultural standard to eat high quality foods and so they are willing to pay more.

A huge difference is other countries have far food purity and labeling rules. Things like American cheese do not meet the legal definition of cheese in other countries and so cannot be sold as "cheese", but as a processed cheese product. Tomato sauce with corn syrup filler gets labeled as no longer being tomato sauce. And so on. The existence of cheapening processed foods is not for the savvy consumer to derive from the ingredients list, but on the main label of what the food can be called in that country.

So here in the USA, when we see pasta sauce selling for twice that of Ragu red corn syrup, it is hard to know if that is because it is better quality or merely a similar product with high end marketing in a fancy bottle.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

sedgmo, Perhaps a single minded focus on reducing corn syrup would be the smart agenda for our country in the near term.

You understand a different process of food - storing it. Over the past weeks we've canned a few dozen jars of misc produce, mostly from Sweet Pea. Much of it was marked down and some even on the brink of spoilage. So it wasn't terribly expensive, but it was a lot of work. A middle road available through winter is the option of beans and the other grains beside corn. Beans and the natural rices in bulk are very healthy alternatives that are also cost effective.

I don't expect many will do this. And the number of folks that engage farmers directly through co-ops will probably never approach a majority. Its a personal decision that I won't criticize. For some its a choice of where to invest one's time. But for too many this produce is only found in a distant store while the really cheap and unhealthy food is on every other corner. That is the food we need to make better. Can we also make it cheaper? It should simply cost what it truly costs, and I don't see that being cheaper.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

My point is somewhat different.

You put it this way, sedgmo, "Can't we find a better way than to punish people (and their kids) for buying what they think tastes good?" Reminds me of Mom insisting I eat my greens. Left to my own choices as a kid? We don't do that, as a matter of responsibility to the well being of minors. Left to our own choices as adults? We intercede as a matter of responsibility when the well being of the commons is involved. The politicians will sometimes twist that into something unrecognizable, but that doesn't mean the goal is invalid.

Scott Ford argues the glazed donuts on Dunkin' Donuts' menu should be off limits for the government. Sounds great as a stand alone sound bite. Sounds less great when that menu is connected to both our Medicare cost overruns and our health insurance premiums, which it is.

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

The problem with Lewi's notion is that his "we" and his "commons" are not the same people. The "commons" are us folks who are too stupid to make proper (according to them) choices while the "we" are people like Lewi who are willing to make those choices for us. Thank God for people who think like Lewi. Without them the herd would roam wherever they wanted, graze where they roamed and reproduce without restraint.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Its easy to put your words in someone's mouth and post judgment on your fiction. Obviously its much easier than responding to what was actually said. The blog may have no discipline, but at least the words are there to reread.

In my words above, the commons would be our common interests: Medicare and our health insurance premiums. And the choice is "a personal decision that I won't criticize." What I do criticize is the recent argument that holds food choice freedoms (glazed donuts in particular) as the higher good while refusing to acknowledge these same food choices (glazed donuts in particular) are directly related to the most serious threats to our future budgets, and rising health insurance premiums.

0

John Fielding 2 years, 10 months ago

.

It is not freedom of choice that is the problem, it is lack of self restraint by the individual. The same cam be said for compulsive gamblers, the sexually obsessed, alcoholics and drug addicts.

Ultimately it is the individuals responsibility, the state cannot protect us from the consequences of our bad decisions.

.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

The trouble with taxing plastic shopping bags or glazed donuts is that the link between proven harm is so weak. Plastic in the ocean is bad, but how is person living 1,000 miles from the ocean and taxing a tiny percentage of a person's plastic trash relevant to plastic in the ocean? So obesity is increasing, and assuming it is due to diet and not behavior changes to be far more sedentary lifestyles then how does donuts affect a person's overall diet? It'd probably make more sense to tax whole milk to make people use low fat milk if the goal is to change food choices to lower calorie options.

This is not tobacco which is clearly so harmful that any new product that harmful would be banned, but in reality that would just create a large illegal market.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

BTW, the reason that it'd make sense to tax whole milk than donuts if the goal was to fight obesity is because more people get more calories from whole milk than they do from glazed donuts.

But this is going to be a highly taxed really weird place if we tax food in order to reduce obesity. I have no idea how we could avoid starving the poor in order to stop middle class obesity.

0

sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

A side issue perhaps but I will report it here since it shocked me. Four times in as many years I have purchased products with LOW or NO sugar, only to discover at home they contained one version or another of Aspartame, which is chemically bleached sugar.

One product was vitamins, labeled in three places as NATURAL (I read an re-read the label as best I could in the poor lighting), and the company name also included the word NATURAL. I wrote the company and they sent me a refund but offered no explanation of their "natural" product definition.

A second item was also vitamins, chewable kids vitamin C, I couldn't find my usual brand so purchased a house brand knockoff. You guessed it, first bite at home made me get out the magnifying glass... to find Aspartame.

Popcorn, a healthy snack... Orville Redenbacher micowave Kettle Korn... Aspartame/Splenda, had to toss it out.

Best of all, orange marmalade from the top shelf. Again, my usual brand was no longer available, after way too long reading labels tried this one which declared ALL FRUIT NO ADDED SUGAR.

One bite at home, spat it out. Splenda buried very deep in the ingredients list and noplace else.

I don't have a weight problem but even being vigilant have been sold these concoctions posing as healthy. I have come to hate shopping more and more because of it.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Apparently other folks have looked at a tax. Their article calculated a donut tax, of sorts, only way bigger:

"No matter what legislation comes out of the frenzied health care debate, economists say that it will cost the American taxpayer a great deal. .... Alternatively, the current rise in health care use will inflate national costs nearly as much as the price of any reform would."

"A large number of the infirmities and chronic and fatal illnesses in the United States are based on behavior, rather than accidents or genetics. This is the reason we have a “sin tax” on tobacco and alcohol: to compensate the costs in the health care system for the damage these products do. One of the proposals to cover health care costs is to impose a sin tax on the foods that increase the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attacks, and cost the health care system billions of dollars per annum."

"24/7 Wall Street analyzed the four most dangerous ingredients in food (sugar, trans fat, saturated fat, and sodium) and estimated a sin tax for each of these. The tax could serve to curb consumption of disease-causing substances and as a way to make those who make bad choices compensate the government and responsible citizens who have to pay higher insurance premiums." ....

"Trans Fats The foods that are the absolute worst for people normally have some dietary function. People need calories, cholesterol, and even fat in some measure. According to the USDA, the FDA, and most other nutritional guidelines, the only substance or chemical commonly found in food that shouldn’t be eaten in any amount is trans fat. It contributes to heart disease, obesity, increases “bad” cholesterol, and has no notable benefit whatsoever. Some studies have also linked transfats to Alzheimer’s, liver dysfunction, some forms of cancer, and infertility in women. It is effectively illegal in both Denmark and Switzerland to sell food products containing trans fat. In 2006, New York City banned restaurants from using anything greater than .5 grams per serving. Other major American cities, including Philadelphia and Chicago, have followed this example."

"Using the NYC ban as a template, any food that contains .5 grams of trans fat or more is taxed 15% of the price." Total = $70 billion/yr

http://247wallst.com/2010/03/21/the-70-billion-a-year-american-obesity-tax/

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

But as Scott W. said, the tax could be hard to apply. Others are recommending bans on trans fats, which may be easier to apply:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/11/11/us-ama-trans-fat-idUSTRE4AA6C720081111

"The American Medical Association threw its weight behind legislation to ban the use of artificial trans fats in restaurants and bakeries nationwide..."

You would expect that fast foods are on that radar.

My preference would be to allow a choice, but given the complications, I suppose trans fat bans are where this is headed. This site is tracking what seems to be that activity since 2006:

http://www.fitfrying.com/map/trans-fat-ban-map.php

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

sedgemo, Its a lot of information. My recent reading was full of qualifying tangents. This does this when added to x, that does that if absent q.

So I asked a friend with extensive education and experience in nutritional health. The advice was that underneath the cross currents of studies and findings is a useful guide: inflammation begins and propagates most illness, from cancer to heart disease. At the top of my list should be avoiding foods that promote inflammation. And they would be "the big three" - white flour, white sugar, and trans fats.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

"any food that contains .5 grams of trans fat or more is taxed 15% of the price"

Which creates bizarre incentives that those foods near .5 grams work to get under that threshold while foods high in trans fat are not worth reducing their levels. In fact, since the tax is the same and being paid regardless then might as well as much trans fat as desired since that won't cost any more. So it creates a system that encourage foods to either have low or high levels of trans fat.

So the "big three" include white sugar but not high fructose corn syrup?

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

I think the article may have missed the qualifier, ".5 grams per serving". In another area, product labeling, if you stay below that level you can label your food as "zero % trans fats".

You think the tax would actually make the problem worse? But I doubt you should worry, given bans seem more popular.

The "big three" conversation went as I wrote it. Its not an attempt to be advising you what to eat because I'm no expert - simply thought Sedgmo would be interested. But since you ask, yes, other parts of that conversation would probably put both artificial sweeteners and corn syrup next on that list.

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

"It may be better to live under robber barrons than omnipotent moral busy bodies. The robber barrons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants and the creed of slaves."

"It will be of little avail to the people that laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they can not be understood; or if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man knows what will be tomorrow... Frequent changes give an unreasonable advantage to the sagacious, enterprising, and the moneyed few, over the industrious and uninformed mass of the people."

Exactly where we are right now, no?

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Is your philosophy then an argument against reducing the deficit? You don't believe in necessity, so the deficit is...? An exchange of other people's decades old quotes would be a better path than reading the current news?

Your post is rhetoric at best, particularly given you do not respond to the facts placed before you:

"According to the USDA, the FDA, and most other nutritional guidelines, the only substance or chemical commonly found in food that shouldn’t be eaten in any amount is trans fat. It contributes to heart disease, obesity, increases “bad” cholesterol, and has no notable benefit whatsoever." -Wallstreet 24/7

""The American Medical Association threw its weight behind legislation to ban the use of artificial trans fats in restaurants and bakeries nationwide..." - Reuters

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

The fact that there are ills in society (and I whole-heartedly agree there are many) does not excuse or permit a government to set about correcting them. Government derrives its' power from the consent of the governed; not by simply trying to do all it thinks possible. When it makes that attempt it ofttimes creates as many, or more problems than it solves.

What supporters of this busy-body philosophy fail to see repeatedly is that there ARE no such thing as "solutions"; there are only trade-offs. Schools need crossing guards, buses and books and teachers, for example. But if the school administration buys plenty of books it does so by sacraficing buses, crossing guards, teachers, heat, etc. At some point some need goes un-met. In our human condition we MUST prioritize and let some things go un-done. A medic working triage on the battlefield is practicing economics; he commits time NOT TO ALL who are wounded, but to those most likely to benifit from his efforts. He knows that, in order to save the largest number of lives he MUST let some die... and he must do so immediately and without regard. This is true in our private lives and it's high time it became more true in government.

My key point, and one of my most basic philisophical arguments is: government can not use a dollar until it first confiscates it from another. And the person who lost the use of that dollar (a commoner) had a better than even chance of doing MORE good with that dollar than the entity which took it from him. Not necessarily THE good that YOU, or the annointed wished done; but good for him and his family nonetheless. How do you know that that last dollar taken from paul to build peter's bike path wasn't the dollar that put paul needed to stay out of the welfare line???

Would society be better off if it had confiscated the dollars Bill Gates used to start Microsoft? If Government took over the Wright Borthers' flight experiment? If uncle scam had been in charge of developing penicillan, the horseless carriage, the cell phone, the heart surgery that cures the heart disease caused by trans fat????

Free people, left alone, create prosperity. It is admittedly chaotic at times; and there is no doubt that it leaves wealth and prosperity spread unevenly. But it serioulsy kicks the ass of all alternatives. And I would much rather live in a society where there were disparate classes than one where all were equally poor and equally condemned to live and die that way.

I do not believe that words of wisdom have a "shelf-life". The words I posted above are just as relevant and true today as they were the day they were first uttered.

Now, please excuse my ignorance and explain the "deficit" question. That one went right over my head. How would my position in general lead one to believe I am against lowering our deficits??

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

Sled, In general, the future deficit is facing its biggest challenge, by far, from rising health care costs. Coincidentally, someone recently suggested to CC that his glazed donuts should be "off limits" to government taxation.

You may support the latter statement. If so, what is your response to this:

"A large number of the infirmities and chronic and fatal illnesses in the United States are based on behavior, rather than accidents or genetics. This is the reason we have a “sin tax” on tobacco and alcohol: to compensate the costs in the health care system for the damage these products do. One of the proposals to cover health care costs is to impose a sin tax on the foods that increase the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attacks, and cost the health care system billions of dollars per annum."

0

sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Sorry it took so long. Very busy trying to beat winter out of the field...

I guess my response is that this is what happens when government makes everything its responsibility. I simply disagree with the notion that government should see to it that people are provided health-care. To that list I would add: affordable housing, unemployment, social security, food stamps, education, transportation, job training, etc.

Once you buy a cow you, as the rancher you are responsible for it. You own it. It is yours to feed, shelter, and, if you wish... eat. I am not a cow. I am not part of a herd. I am not part of the "world community" or any other such hogwash. I do not wish to be, nor WILL I BE milked, herded, fed or eaten by another entity who thinks I belong to them. Not even if it is "for my own good". I will decide that, not anyone else! I am an autonomous human being created by God with inalienable rights. (Life, Liberty and property, self defense, proffit, trade, etc) When government presumes to direct my path it becomes a usurper, stealing that which God gave to ME, NOT to government. Men should rise and fall on their own merits or depend the kindness of the community. And the community might be more inclined and able to provide that assistance had government not relieved that community of half its money. Someone with a gun to his head is not being charitable in giving, he is being robbed. Robbed not only of his property but also of the right to direct his property towards the charity of HIS choosing!!!!!

Once we let government be responsible for all our needs it owns us; just like a rancher owns cattle. That all their basic needs are provided may be comforting to the dumb-masses but it means NOTHING to me except that I have become someones property.

Count me out, Lewi.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 9 months ago

Sled, Our fundamental disagreement is where government has a role and where it does not. Somewhat to Rick Akin's point, you live in a country that excepts majority rule, and you find your self unhappily in the minority. (There are shields from "the mob rule" in our three branches of executive, congress and courts. Certainly congress is far from enacting what polls show the "mob" asks for.) But regardless, in matters of education, etc, you are very much in the minority.

Yes its frustrating. Too many insist on getting theirs at the cost of others. You will do it. I will do it. When we set up safety nets for the farmer amidst the market cruelties, many will take advantage of that net. You might do away with the net. I think its better to keep working on the net.

Count you out. That's easier to say when you are secure and own land and livestock. Look around at your workforce and the workforce of your suppliers. The least of them will not avoid the challenges of old age or other hardship by relying only on your kindness volunteered. With enough hardship, they would go hungry and cold. You know that, don't you?

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 9 months ago

Steve, Nice slight of hand trick there. Alcohol and tobacco are both physically addictive drugs that could easily be regulated as such. The taxes on those can be considered as part of the solution society accepts due to wanting to use those drugs and knowing that banning them creates more problems than it solves.

It is a massive leap from taxes harmful legal drugs to taxing food. Saying one leads to the either is not true. Neither alcohol or tobacco is a fundamental right of being human. Food is.

Since the problem is not thin people with imperfect diets, but fat people then we might as well fine people for being fat that are not in a government approved weight loss program. That could also generate lots of money. More important, it deals directly with the issue of people being fat and making them become less unhealthy.

And yvb would probably enjoy this because his exercise program could be running around his property and shooting at those trying to impose a government exercise program on him. And once he worked up a sweat then they'd leave and everyone would be happy.

0

sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, our fundamental difference is indeed the proper boundary of local, state and federal government. I do not accept "majority rule" as proper rule. A rape gand is a majority. A lynch mob is a majority. Neither are right, just or legal; legal being the most important for this discussion. The reason law exists is to protect men (individuals) from mob/ majority rule. Bastiat explained this concept as clearly as any man ever has in his 17th century work "The Law". But the law has been corrupted and turned from its original purpose which was to protect individuals from mob rule, pillage and plunder. It has been transformed fundamentally into an instrument OF plunder.

Bastiat said that "There are people who think that plunder loses all its immorality as soon as it becomes legal..." I think that perhaps includes you, Lewi; no? Do you think that all which is LEGAL is JUST????? I am pleased to dissappoint thos who believe this fallacy. The fact is that even if the whole world except for ME accepts, condones and even supports plunder and usurpation of individual rights that STILL does not make it right.

Yes, I understand that some people may suffer if not provided for. I also know that great men, magnificent accomplishments, and lasting wealth comes to men who have suffered in some of the most dire circumstances. And what comes from idleness and laziness being rewarded??? And how do they, as humans, differ from animals???? When we go into the forest we are told firmly by wildlife experts that feeding the animals is BAD for them. It weakens them! It makes them dependant on something that will not always be there. We are told that with regard to animals causing this dependance is utterly cruel; yet the next word our of many leftists mouth is how we should embrace that very practice vis a vis our fellow man! How can this be anything but cruel?????

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 9 months ago

Sled, Our constitution required ratification via a vote. You likely agree with that. So what fundamental dictum would we apply to reasonably say majority is moot and no longer applies?

Mob rule is the last thing we need to worry about! Both congress and the president routinely ignore the polls of the majority. What we should fear is lobby rule. Special interests are FAR more dangerous than a majority of Americans.

Legal equals just? No. Every corner of our system endures corruption. We have laws which are corrupt. Where you point to governments' plunder of the individual's pocket and rights, I can make an equal case of big corporations' plunder of both individual rights and government's pocket. All of it legal.

We did not cure "too big to fail". I consider that an indictment of our government's corruption. But the opposite position - that government should get out of the way of the banks - defies the known history of the banks' role in the financial crash.

Our views of a safety net for the weak put us so far apart as to reflect 2 very different religions. Its a useless conversation, no?

It seems you like to speak about philosophy. I like to speak to what I see played out before me. How do you think Bastiat would react to the Hudson River on fire?

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 9 months ago

Government should get out of the way of the banks and dealt with them in bankruptcy court.

The whole too big to fail mentality is a belief that the status quo is as good is it is going to be. It was a huge mistake to help the banks and let them keep the same management and everything the same. If we had let them fail then smarter at taking risks would have replaced them. Now they are giants consuming all the oxygen in the room by taking interest free money from the federal reserve and loaning it short term for 1% or so. No need for them to make any loans to make money, but just feed off of the Federal Reserve.

And somehow this country got so addicted to less than 5% down payments on mortgages that now either you qualify for government fannie mae loan or you pay cash. The whole concept of 20% down being a nice safe mortgage and thus a good business is gone.

If the US Government is going to control the financial purse strings of the US economy then they need to run it like a business and not like congressional pork barrel.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 9 months ago

Scott, I don't follow your post. Particularly: "It is a massive leap from taxes harmful legal drugs to taxing food. Saying one leads to the either is not true. Neither alcohol or tobacco is a fundamental right of being human. Food is."

Trans fats are not harmful and legal? I don't understand your "one leads to the (other)" comment. And I do not argue that we have no right to alcohol or tobacco.

And your comment, "Since the problem is not thin people with imperfect diets, but fat people..." suggests we are on different pages. I am not arguing obesity is "the problem". It is part of the problem.

From above: "... diabetes, obesity, and other health issues will be significant factors in our nation's struggle with future budgets. Health care is widely acknowledged to be the single largest problem in future deficits."

and...

According to the USDA, the FDA, and most other nutritional guidelines, the only substance or chemical commonly found in food that shouldn’t be eaten in any amount is trans fat. It contributes to heart disease, obesity, increases “bad” cholesterol, and has no notable benefit whatsoever. Some studies have also linked transfats to Alzheimer’s, liver dysfunction, some forms of cancer, and infertility in women.

Those are what I see as "the problem".

0

sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

I will agree that lobby-rule is dreadful as is mob rule I am not sure how Bastiat would react to a river on fire but I am confident his solution would not be a government like what we have today.

I am not sure what religion you practice or which you suppose I desecrate.

I am familiar with several religions: Christianity, Environmentalism, Rastafarian, Judeaism, Catholicism... Jesus told of three men who were given money to use while their master was away. The first was given five coins, the second two, and the third given one. When the master returned he praised the men who had gone out into the market and made profit. He condemned the one who had failed to be industrious and add to his holdings. Jesus called him a "wicked and lazy servant" and said that even that little which he had should be taken from him and given to the man who had more ambition.

Now, Lewi, I have answered several of your questions. Please answer one of mine. How can it be cruel to feed the animals, thereby causing them to become dependant, lazy and weak and NOT be cruel to do the same to men???

Jesus' other words: "The poor you have with you always". If God could not solve that how will you?

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 9 months ago

So if trans fat is a chemically altered substance and not food then ban it. If it that bad it should be banned, not taxed. Taxing transfat would be like taxing arsenic in food.

But various foods should not be tax differently just because it is assumed that fat people eat donuts and not bananas and so on.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 9 months ago

Sled, I don't suggest either of us desecrates. My point was that our belief systems were opposite in this regard, and I should have put it differently. But it does seem we've reached a deadlock not worth pursuing.

Ethics for animals and men are not identical. We eat animals. We even kill them for sport. Lift-Up food bank, by your analogy, should not exist.

No, we will not end poverty and hunger. But we should make an effort to reduce them.

0

sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

Charity is a wonderful concept. Of course it should exist. But charity is voluntary, not compulsory. I agree that ethics for animals and men are different. (thank you for answering the question) Men are, indeed, of far greater value. Nevertheless, when we subsidize poverty and dependance we do not cure it, we get MORE of it. In the '60's black children born out of wedlock was 25% and called a "crisis" and government set about fixing it. Now its 75%!

We probably agree on many things being desirable. But I wish you would look at past results of government interferance before assuming it is the ONLY way to address problems. I believe this conversation started when I read you calling government money "useful". All I'm asking is that you consider that resources are "useful" in private hands as well, and throughout the ages they have been put to far better overall use there rather than by ploiticians.

0

Steve Lewis 2 years, 9 months ago

Sled, In a general sense, I agree with your last sentence - resources are put to better use in private hands, nearly across the board. Private hands feel the pinch of failure and the reward of profit. Those motivations take "use of resources" to a wonderful level, particularly where profit is involved.

Those motivations do less well where profit is not involved, and some other organizing principle is called for to place infrastructure, to legislate, to keep the peace... etc. And there are even areas where those motivations create very much the opposite of "wonderful", such as that famous burning river. Perhaps these other organizing needs are the realm of do-gooders. Or perhaps these are above their foolish path?

In other words, there are cardinal elements of civilized society that private hands just will not deliver. And the other institutions that are created in the pursuit of "civilized" are not going to function anywhere near the efficacy of the for-profit system. Because they are not at all about profit. Their "usefulness" has an entirely different end. It sucks to watch them spend unwisely, and they will waste resources at a painful rate, but that is different than saying we would do without them.

I know you understood this without my writing. But its worthwhile to give reason for those "less useful" uses of resources.

We could do much better if we could clean up big $$ lobbying of our government. I'm sure we share that goal. Stickers of "D" and "R" are a wasted distraction when it comes to cleaning up, in my opinion.

0

sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

"D" and "R", the 2 biggest problems in America today.

"The men of my own stock They may do ill or well, But they tell the lies I am wonted to, They are used to the lies I tell; And we do not need interpreters When we go to buy and sell."

---- Kipling, "The Stranger", 1908

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.