Had about enough of Anchorage’s nonsensical plastic bag ban? Many have – and for good reason.
It is not the 10 cents people now are forced to pay for paper bags that gripes most. Nor is it the fact that government is telling private businesses what they must charge for the bags and then dictating what must go on the receipt.
It is not even the inconvenience of forgetting to bring a bag to the store and being forced to carry items in their arms or buy a paper bag.
Nope. For many, it is the high-handed way our nanny Assembly jammed the ordinance down residents’ throats.
Most vexing: During an Assembly work session an ordinance sponsor said the 10-cent fee was to “coerce people to change their behavior.”
That’s right. Some on the Assembly believe aggravating people, forcing – not leading – them to bend to the government’s will in order to achieve a goal is an acceptable form of governance. It is not. It is political thuggery. What comes next, goons knocking on our doors demanding our plastic bags?
If the Assembly wanted to ban plastic single-use bags – and, with Americans using about 100 billion of them a year, an argument can be made for it – it should have educated the public, put the question up for a vote by the people, and, if passed, let the private sector decide how it will adapt.
Using the power of city government to “coerce” or aggravate people and micromanage business is not much different than what would we have under a system of economic dirigisme, where government directs business, instead of having a regulatory role.
If its goal were to irritate Anchorage residents with a ban, the Assembly has done a truly remarkable job.