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Austin Texas, whose claim to fame is its prolific “weirdness”, has undertaken a new effort to catapult their “weirdness” to new and unimaginable heights. While liberal mayors and governors across the nation have been busy waging war on guns, profit, and families, the liberal Austin City Council has been lamenting their unfortunate location within the red state of Texas, desperately searching for something to ban. Well, they finally found it, grocery bags. As of March 1st, grocery bags, both paper and plastic, are illegal inside the city limits of Austin. What’s equally disturbing is that the city is spending over two million dollars of taxpayer funds training groups of volunteer “citizen observers” to enforce the ordinance, with the hope of creating a bag gestapo. Retailers who do not comply with the ordnance risk paying steep fines.
Aside from the sanitary issues related to reusable bags, this ordnance is already driving business out of Austin and into nearby communities, where purchasing more than two items is still a welcome endeavor. It is perhaps the most predictable oversight in the history of liberal city councils; they failed to consider that shoppers like shopping bags. It is too soon to tell what the economic impact on Austin retailers will be, but many business owners are preparing for the worst and have already filed suit against the city.
This issue is easy to make light of, as liberal leaders across the nation are hell bent on banning anything and everything and their thirst for bans is unquenchable. From plastic bags, to guns, to carbon dioxide, to salt and soda- things must be banned! However, it’s really much deeper than that. Certainly we must mock and ridicule such ridiculous regulation, how could we not? But we must also realize that it is this sort of incremental localized regulation that has slowly but surely turned us into an administrative state. Outlandish local ordinances have a nasty habit of turning into widespread social engineering. The federal government uses silly plastic bag bans, such as this example to eventually make the case for federally funding green initiatives. Ludicrous local regulation is the foundation for incorrigible federal fiats. So while we mock Austin’s city council and sympathize with the single mother juggling milk and bread in one hand, and a newborn in the other, we can’t afford to lose sight of the big picture. The administrative state we currently live in is built upon a foundation of bag bans.