Some of the biggest cities in the United States have taken it upon themselves to wage a war on plastic bags under the guise of environmentalism. But, as many have continued to discover, plastic bags are not the scourge they imagine, and their nanny policies continue to fail.
Chicago is the latest to go back to this well.
Earlier this month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget was approved by the city council with a 7-cent tax on plastic bags – 5 cents of which will go to the city. While bag taxes like these are sold as an environmental necessity, studies in multiple locales have shown that bag taxes rarely do much environmental good, and cities simply use the money raised to plug budget holes.
Plastic bag fees are merely a stealth tax hike that disproportionately hits families that go grocery shopping more frequently.
This is Chicago’s second bag grab.
In 2015, the city instituted a plastic bag ban that was based on the thickness of the bags — justified then as now by environmental concerns. It failed miserably. Consumers simply switched to using thicker bags and didn’t reuse them frequently.