March 6th, 2009


The 7-cent "Plastic Bag" Tax

According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, Representative Rafael Anchia wants to tax consumers for each shopping bag they use. And while it never ceases to amaze me the ways the government tries to get into my pocket, I'm especially enamored with the timing of this one - at the onset of a national recession. I'm cutting costs, why can't they? Taxing me further is not my idea of a viable solution. Or is it? Let's see where this new income will go:

If his bill is passed, a portion of it would go back to the retailer for their recycling efforts. Interestingly enough, Wal-Mart is already operating its own recycling effort at a profit, yet they are publicly excited about the proposed bill. Why? The answer is obvious. More money in their pocket! Straight from yours to theirs. Just like the U.S. Banks giving themselves large bonuses, buying up smaller banks to increase their empire, and throwing lavish parties with the 'bailout' money you and I funded. I've got to admit, its a great gig if you can get it. I've got a better idea though - stop. Stop giving greedy people my money. They do not deserve it.

Where's the other portion of the tax money going to go? Why to the government, of course. To fund their recycling. IF RECYCLING WORKED, IT WOULD PAY FOR ITSELF. I wouldn't have to continue to throw fistfulls of cash at it. Recently, my city signed us up for recycling! With all this wonderful Earth-saving technology which allows us to reuse existing garbage, you'd think there would be some kind of cost-cutting measure involved. Nope, my bill went up. It costs me more to recycle. For the record - not a good motivator for doing so. Those cloven-hoooved vixens the Girl Scouts recently pulled a similar stunt with their cookies, putting fewer in the box, but charging us the same price.

I saw Representative Anchia on the news that morning, and he was grinning from ear to ear as he deftly concurred, "If people know that there's an added cost to doing plastic, they're either going to use paper, which is biodegradable, or they're going to bring their own bag." And all of this just might make sense, if it weren't the retailers who forced us to go to plastic in the first place. I was there during the whole, "Paper or Plastic" debacle. So it was a decade long conspiracy? Since paper is not really an option, and they want me to bring my own bag, maybe to save on that cost I'll simply arrive at department stores naked, and just wear the merchandise I pay for out the door? Or start stuffing electronics into my backback while I'm there. Yeah, there's a good idea to limit shrinkage.

Of course some retailers do already carry reusable bags in their store. No, they're not free. And I'm sure 'bring your own bag' is going to have its limits as well, that being, "Only [retailer] licensed bags allowed." Maybe they can figure out a way to tax you if you bring in the wrong bag? I know I'm looking forward to carting around a plethora of retailer's bags in my car just in case I want to pop in somewhere.

In short, retailers forced the move to plastic on us, but they're not the ones being taxed because of it, we are. If the government wants to find some money down this avenue, tax those who are giving the bags away, or stop spending - but don't you dare stick your hand in my pocket again, it may get slapped - you won't like the repercussions if I choose to void myself of activities in which you can partake.