Filed Under: Big Government

Vice Taxes, Poverty, and Unintended Consequences

Yesterday we appeared on Fox News' Fox and Friends to discuss so-called vice taxes. State and federal legislators have considered levies on everything from soda to snack foods in an attempt to plug their budget holes. But as we point out, these taxes would hit the poor disproportionately while doing little to help public health:

Raising the cost of living for the poor is just one of the unintended consequences of these taxes. States around the country — following the District of Columbia's lead — are debating a tax on plastic bags. Such a measure would allegedly raise money for the state while helping the environment by encouraging customers to switch to the reusable polypropylene bags now available at many grocery stores.

But those new bags aren't as safe as you might think. Today USA Today ran an article summarizing our latest research:

Twenty-one reusable bags sold as alternatives to disposable plastic or paper bags had dangerous levels of lead, according to new test results provided to USA TODAY.

The non-woven-polypropylene bags bags, sold by chains including Safeway, Walgreen's and Bloom, all had lead content above 100 parts per million  the highest level that many states allow in consumer packaging. The tests were conducted by Frontier Global Sciences for the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), which plans to release the results Monday. The group tested 71 bags and inserts from 44 retailers and organizations.

Click here to read our full report.

By taxing plastic bags, meddlesome legislators unwittingly switched consumers over to a potentially unsafe alternative. Bet they didn't see that coming.

This is what happens when activists demand government intervention without doing their research and fully thinking things through. As we said in our latest press release, "Environmental activists are trying to have it both ways. They've spent decades campaigning against lead in paint, toys, and even packaging, but when it comes to their own sacred cow, they seem willing to ignore the issue." Thanks to their efforts, consumers are less safe and have less choice than before.

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