Tonight I’ll do my Fox Business Network show (8 and 11pm EST, 10pm Fri) on the “Food Police.”
As they march across the country, taxing and banning salt, trans fat, and sugary drinks, a new front has emerged for them to regulate: the bags you use to carry the food home. Not only is most of this pointless, it squanders more resources on accountants and tax lawyers.
Illinois’ 6 percent candy tax exempts products made with flour. So Kit-Kat and Twix bars are not candy. Lobbyists buy vacations off rules like that.
Washington, DC now has a 5 cent bag tax. It applies to any paper or plastic bag used by any store that sells food. It was meant to apply to grocery stores but what exactly is a grocery store?
Politics & Prose, a local bookstore, sold one food item—mints—including a variety that came in a tin with Barack Obama's likeness. To be safe, and avoid charging every customer who bought a book five cents a bag, the store dropped the mints...
The owners of Chocolate Moose, which sells quirky gifts and jewelry as well as candy, were certain the tax didn't apply to them. Although they received the notice the district sent to all retail food establishments, candy accounts for just 10% or 20% of sales, says co-owner Marcia Levi. "I don't consider myself a food establishment," she says. When another store owner asked what she was going to do about the regulation, she decided to call the city. "I explained to them the situation—that only a small part of my business is food," she said. "They said it does not matter."
So Chocolate Moose now charges a nickel a bag.
And so our freedom disappears, a nickel at a time.