Friday, August 1, 2008

Laws that would not make sense

Laws that would not make sense

By Kevin Bryant

How would you like to wake up tomorrow and read in the paper or hear on the radio & television that fast food chains have now been outlawed because they are a major contributor to obesity? Perhaps a law was passed that outlawed any form of beverage that contained sugar because it promotes tooth decay or caffeine because too much of it can cause someone with a weak heart to have a heart attack? Better yet, let’s outlaw sex between consenting adults if they have not been certified by a government agency in the last 30 days to be healthy enough to have sex and be free from any diseases. That doesn't make any sense does it?

What about laws to help protect the environment. Let’s outlaw combustion engines because of the carbon dioxide they put off. Plastics in any form will be outlawed because they take fossil fuels to produce. Can you imagine a world without plastics? So much for the bottled water industry, medical care as we know it, no computers, no electronic games, no cars, just about everything as we know it would no longer be available to us. This too doesn't make any sense does it?

How about all humans will from this day forth be required to wear a breathing filtration system to remove carbon dioxide from your exhaled breathes regardless of the fact that plants need it to grow. Or better yet, laws stating that humans are the only animals allowed to live on the earth’s surface and all others must be eradicated by any and all means available. I think we could all agree that this would be a stupid law.

These all would be stupid laws that would not make sense to any civilized society. They would have a major impact on our rights and liberties. Could you imagine the outcries if these were actually made into law? The restrictions they would place on our everyday lives would set us back hundreds of years.

I believe we can all agree that if these laws were to be implemented, they would go well beyond the scope of the authority granted by the constitution to the city, state and federal governments.

Here is another example of a stupid law that is not constitutionally supported yet continues to grow in popularity and has a direct effect all our lives: City and State Smoking Bans. Now I know all the non-smokers out there are saying they are good laws and they are there to protect us and our children. If they protect us from harmful second hand smoke how could it possibly be a bad thing?

Most smokers are very polite and do not smoke around those who do not. Most smokers agree that smoking bans in restaurants and other places that center around family are good things and they support them. It’s the same with not smoking in office spaces and or most other indoor businesses. Now think about the smoking bans and how they could possibly affect non-smokers negatively. We’ll get back to that question in a few minutes.

You have to be 16 to drive a car. You have to 18 to vote and enter into legally binding contracts and you have to be 21 to buy alcohol. By the time most of us reach the age of 21, we can think for ourselves and are beyond a shadow of a doubt in a court of law responsible for our own actions. By the age of 21, a vast majority of the population is capable of judging for themselves what they want to do and how to live their own lives. At 21, you enjoy all the freedoms granted to you by the constitution & the bill of rights.

But wait, do you really?

Multiply this one example by all the adult only establishments in your area. Imagine that you are a bar owner. You have owned this bar for 15 years and have had a strict policy to card anyone that does not look at least 35 years of age to verify that they have a legal right to be in there and to purchase an alcoholic beverage if they so choose to. Your bar has been a mainstay of where people go to after getting off work at the office or factory or wherever they work. For years you have served many of the same people who come in and have a drink or two, sit around with all their buddies or girlfriends and been able to light up and relax. You have enjoyed an occasional cigar with them and taken part in many conversations.

Now here comes a group of people who have never or would never set foot inside your establishment and now they want to tell you what you can and can not do inside a building that you own or rent. They wish to take away a freedom that the adults only of your community have enjoyed for many years. They petition for a vote on it. The measure passes and now smoking has been outlawed in any business within the city. These same people who voted for the smoking ban are the same ones that would never enter your establishment to begin with yet, in one swift act, one of your rights as a business owner and property owner has been taken away from you.

Now, remember when I said we would get back to negative affects that a smoking ban would have on non-smokers. We have now come to that part. Because smoking is no longer allowed even in the adult only establishments, between 25 and 40 percent of the people who used to frequent that bar after work now just goes directly home. The loss of patrons is directly proportional to the loss of revenue that your bar was taking in. You just lost a big chuck of your income. Now you have less money to spend items for yourself, your family and your home. Now, you also owe the city, state and federal governments less in taxes because you are not making as much as before. Because of the loss of patrons, you now have to let half your staff go because you can no longer afford to keep them employed.

In the city of St. Louis, MO the smoking ban has resulted in, depending on which report you read, a loss of between 5 and 9 MILLION dollars in lost revenue from sales tax on alcohol and tobacco from bars, casinos and other adult only establishments. As a result, property tax, sales tax, gasoline tax, various utility taxes and rates all has risen to cover the loss of revenue as well as the cost of using public services and visiting government operated establishments.

So, the bar owner makes less, spends less and pays a higher price for taxes and basic services all because a group of people want to tell him and everyone else how to live their lives. Because of their actions, now everyone must also pay higher prices for those same services and taxes. We are not done yet, because not only do you now have to pay a higher amount because of the loss of city revenue, but that amount has increased even more because the staff you had to let go are now receiving unemployment checks and other various subsidies and assistance because they no longer have jobs.

Loss of revenue and higher taxes.....Still think smoking bans are a great idea?

He who surrenders freedom for security deserves neither – attributed to Benjamin Franklin


SANE said...

The city of Los Angeles has voted to ban fast food restaurants from opening in poor neighborhoods because it contribute to obesity....Go figure...The next question is - how can poor people afford to dine in upscale restaurants? ...And whatever happened to "choice"

Anonymous said...

Very well written and definitely thought out. Very interesting...

republican patriot said...

Unfortunately choice is what will be challenged in this next presidential election. The Dems want my control of our lives (knowing what is best for us), and the Republicans want less go vernment, and less taxes reverting back to the "Federalist" mentality. Of course we are talking
McCain against Obama, so it's left against less left!