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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Re: When Does It End?

posted by on May 14 at 13:24 PM

As Dan notes below, the Seattle Times’ Bruce Ramsey took the bold step today of coming out against the proposed 20-cent tax on disposable grocery bags… joining fellow faux populists Ron Judd, Knute Berger, Joni Balter , and the entire Seattle Times editorial board in protesting this grave violation of their human right to be given plastic bags free of charge and dispose of them however they wish. His column is a rehash of hoary old Seattle cliches—“social engineering” makes an appearance, as does the familiar shibboleth of—the injustice!—forced recycling. (A ghostly Nanny State™ also appears on the sidelines, in the form of the “city-wagging-its-finger-at-me” tax.)

Anyway, I won’t add to what Dan so adroitly said below (and what I’ve said over and over and over again), except this: I sincerely hope that when Mayor Nickels decides to propose a tax on bottled water, “populists” like Ramsay, Balter, and Berger will wholeheartedly support it—since, presumably, all those poor, downtrodden low-income Seattleites who can’t afford so much as a 73-cent reusable bag are already drinking tap water anyway.

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Ya gotta love how elitists always call people who espouse populist ideas "faux populists."

Posted by Mr. X | May 14, 2008 1:33 PM

what a bunch of dinosaurs.

Posted by brett | May 14, 2008 1:36 PM

"When Does It End?"

I wonder how many people say that when they read your frivolous "sexism" posts.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 14, 2008 1:37 PM

Plastic bags aren't currently provided "free of charge" -- the cost is baked in to the cost of goods/groceries. The new tax wouldn't cover the cost of providing the bags, either, as it would (in most cases) go to the city's coffers.

Posted by joykiller | May 14, 2008 1:39 PM

I hate it when people are given an idea and before they even give the potential benefits of it long, hard thought, come up with 150 reasons why the idea won't work.

If this had been the history of man, wouldn't we still be in caves sleeping in our own shit?

Posted by Bauhaus | May 14, 2008 1:45 PM

Hey, I resent that remark. Sleeping in your own shit isn't really all that bad.

Posted by Caveman | May 14, 2008 1:49 PM

This is a telling quote from the Bruce Ramsey in the Seattle Times article: "I don't want to use a cloth bag. I don't want to carry the bag to the store, and I don't want to limit my shopping to the capacity of my bag.". Hard to argue with the desire to do nothing. This is a writer in search of a cause ... and this invented cause has his panties in a pinch.

Posted by Daniel | May 14, 2008 2:13 PM

I'm thinking maybe the City should assess a 20 cent tax on free weekly newspapers, as well.

After all, they're wasteful to print, costly to recycle, and most likely going to a landfill where they will refuse to decompose, anyway....

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 14, 2008 2:13 PM

If it's so important to the well-being of society, let's see the Mayor and Council out in front of an initiative to ban the bags in Seattle. Have the courage of your convictions to stand up and try to convince the majority of Seattle-ites to do the right thing. Stewardship of our environment is a cause worthy of a referendum. Taxation is the refuge of cowards.

Posted by jackseattle | May 14, 2008 2:15 PM

@9 what?

Posted by elenchos | May 14, 2008 2:18 PM


You might be surprised to hear that some people kind of get annoyed when self-righteous do-gooders try and tell them what to do.

The nerve!

Posted by Mr. X | May 14, 2008 2:25 PM

We tried the "selfishness is a virtue" model for a while and ended up with an island of floating plastic the size of Texas. So now we're trying it this way.

I mean if you have a non-self-righteous, non-do-gooder way to get rid of all that shit don't keep it to yourself.

Posted by elenchos | May 14, 2008 2:40 PM

@1: Ya gotta love how some people look at broke-ass writers for alt-weekly newspapers and call them "elitists" while siding with Republican daily newspaper columnists who make more than 100K a year.

Posted by ECB | May 14, 2008 2:41 PM

Yes, how dare the government tell me what I can and can't put in my garbage! It's mine, I should be able to throw out whatever I want, regardless of the consequences of my actions taken in aggregate! No one else matters but me! My comfort and routine come first!

Posted by Greg | May 14, 2008 2:43 PM

The way you squinted down your nose at the square ladies who wanted to meet the author of a book of small things to help the environment was kind of stuck up, Erica.

Posted by elenchos | May 14, 2008 2:44 PM

ECB @ 13

X doesn't necessarily side with Ramsey, and how do you know Ramsey is a Republican? Is that a fact or a speculation? How do you know Ramsey's salary? Is that a fact or a speculation?

What about a tax on paper dailies and weeklys? Don't evade the question.

Posted by Luigi Giovanni | May 14, 2008 3:06 PM

The key words in Erica's post being "and what I’ve said over and over and over again."

Apparently she thinks those who disagree with her will come around if she just...keeps...repeating......

Posted by tomcat98109 | May 14, 2008 3:08 PM

The reality is that a substantial majority of our citizens don't like the "bag tax".

Make it a mandatory "bag credit" for reusing bags and you'd win far more taxpaying voters than you will with your "tax the poor" scheme.

Most of us wouldn't mind a 10 cent automatic credit for bringing bags. Especially if it was coupled with a 5 cent bag tax. That would make it a CHOICE.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 14, 2008 3:13 PM

Back up your accusations Erica or eat your words.

How do you know Ramsy's political affiliation and salary? Have you been digging in his trash?

When "playing journalist" please at least pretend to play by the rules.

Posted by Jeff | May 14, 2008 3:16 PM

I'll bet a dollar that Ramsey is a Republican. Any takers?

Posted by ZWBush | May 14, 2008 3:20 PM

There was the same kind of moaning and hand wringing (but no "nanny-stating" - Limbaugh wasn't around yet) when Iowa started the nickel deposit on aluminum cans.

Thirty years later, the program is still going strong, the streets are cleaner, and fascism hasn't come to Iowa.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | May 14, 2008 3:25 PM

Elitist is as elitist does, ECB.

And honestly, has there ever been a "real" populist in your view - that is, one who you disagreed with but would at least credit as "real"? Anyone who espouses populist positions always gets branded by Stranger writers as a "faux populist" - in no small part because they usually do an effective job of pointing up your own glaring elitism.

Posted by Mr. X | May 14, 2008 3:30 PM

@9, you're right (I think).

Did you know the Mayor's daily commute involves two round trips -- by towncar -- between West Seattle and downtown?

This is why the proposal is difficult to swallow. I'm being told this is a necessary inconvenience by a mayor who wouldn't know inconvenience if it bit him on his (rather ample) ass. The council's not much better, either: witness Erica's favorite, Mr. Steinbrueck, who used to commute by car from Jackson Park.

Meanwhile, the Duwamish is mess of toxic sludge. Hopefull this whole plastic bag thing will solve that too.

Posted by joykiller | May 14, 2008 3:34 PM
Make it a mandatory "bag credit" for reusing bags and you'd win far more taxpaying voters than you will with your "tax the poor" scheme.

Why? WHY? That would be trying to legislate the same incentives that a bag tax would, with the same effect, but without bringing in any money for the city. Please, tell me, bag-credit fans, why is this better?

Posted by tsm | May 14, 2008 3:37 PM


I'll bet a dollar Ramsey is not a Republican.

Posted by Luigi Giovanni | May 14, 2008 3:54 PM

Art. Art will decide this debate when words fail. The baggers can display heart-wrenching images of poor people choosing between food or a bag to put it in, juxtaposed with responsible shoppers happily returning their used bags to the store for recycling. Enviros can display heart-wrenching images of parks, waterways, and playgrounds covered in filthy plastic bags, juxtaposed with smiling people holding reusable bags. May the best art win.

Posted by Mrs. Jarvie | May 14, 2008 7:02 PM

I'm terribly sorry, I'm late again:

There will be bag!

Posted by CP | May 16, 2008 4:36 PM

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