Remember when James Madison wrote, in one of the Federalist papers, that the purpose of government is to “help people change their behavior”? What, it wasn’t Madison? Who was it, then, who first articulated this profound philosophy? Benjamin Franklin? Locke? Aristotle?
None of the above. It’s the Seattle City Council, that’s who.
You know your city government has way too much money when it can afford to have unionized municipal employees check residents’ garbage cans to make sure they aren’t throwing away too much food ( http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/09/24/Seattle-Passes-Laws-to-Keep-Residents-From-Wasting-Food ).
You can be fined if “food and compostable material” makes up 10% or more of your trash output. Now hear this:
The fine will be $1 for residents and $50 for businesses and apartment buildings.
The purpose of this, says the Council, is to get people to do more recycling.
Coulda fooled me! I would’ve thought the purpose of this law was to demonstrate that the city of Seattle is governed by escaped mental patients. I mean, really–does the city have so freakin’ much money, that they can get public employees to do extra work, for which they will insist on being paid, and not make the fines high enough to pay for it?
Oh, but that’s beside the point! The point is to “help people change their behavior.”
Even as you read this, former New York Nanny Michael Bloomberg is smiting his forehead and saying, “Why didn’t I think of that!” Bloomberg, who banned indoor smoking in NYC but got his hand chopped off when he reached for a ban on large sodas, pioneered the practice of using fines and taxes to help people change their behavior.
What if we don’t want our behavior to be changed?
What we want is some way to change the government’s behavior.