Yesterday, I was on NPR's Tell Me More show, discussing plastic bag bans and taxes in DC, LA, Ireland, and elsewhere.
A snippet between me and host Michel Martin:
MARTIN: It's five cents. What so terrible?
GILLESPIE: Well, you know, first off, it's, you know, we live in a world where mayors certainly, I mean, I'm thinking of somebody like Mayor Mike Bloomberg in New York, who has tried to ban, you know, all sorts of things that he personally finds offensive. I mean he most recently, you know, was pushing to pass a limit on the size of soda pop that could be bought, even as he was celebrating literally Donut Day with the world's biggest box of Entenmann Donuts, you know, as a way of addressing what he claimed was an obesity epidemic.
We live in a world where politicians and governments have shown time and time again that they're interested in controlling our very basic choices. I think that, you know, you really need to show that there is a huge pressing and dire concern that needs to be addressed, and that the policy will do that. I don't think that the plastic bag ban reaches that level….
[Your] question is what's the harm? It's only a nickel or it's only 19 bucks or 20 bucks a year or something like that. My question is—partly is, what's, you know, what's the good? And if in fact plastic bags don't make us that much of the waste stream, that plastic bags are not causing that many problems, why does the government, why is the default that the government can come in and say hey, you know what? Do it this way. Do it our way rather than your way or hit the highway. I think that's problematic.
Jay Beeber gives the full argument about why plastic bag bans are full of feel-good baloney.
ReasonTV correspondent Kennedy talks with LA City Council folks about their plastic bag ban: