Last night I experienced first hand what the American colonists must have felt back in the 1760s. The Stamp Act, it has much been said, wasn’t so much a pain because of the amount of money. It was a pain because it was big government getting in your face. So what exactly in today’s world is so comparable?
Montgomery County Maryland and the Bag Tax.
Sure, 5 cents on every paper or plastic bag from every grocery, retail, or dining establishment might not make a big hole in your pocket. But it stings. Especially when you take into account all the other absurdities of this county government. Let me tell you what happened to me last night:
First, I went to the library to renew my books.
Librarian: “Sorry, you can’t renew, you have to give other people a chance to read.”
Me: I just stare, thinking Who else wants to read this book on Medieval England that hasn’t been checked out since 2008? Isn’t that what waiting lists and holds are for?
Librarian: “You can come back tomorrow to get them off the shelf.”
Me: I work full-time and have a life. “Really? You can’t just renew them today?”
Librarian: “Nope. New Montgomery County rule. Read the sign.”
So I begrudgingly took my book marks out of the books and went to my car. Next stop, grocery store to get a bottle of Texas Pete hot sauce. I go to check out, and the lines are around the block. Every person at self check-out is taking way longer than usual, because there were no bags to be found. In their place were signs, “New Montgomery County law, bags now cost 5 cents, please bring your own bag,” or some other insensitive, bureaucratic BS. After waiting for the guy in front of me to finally bum a bag off someone to carry his 15 little items, I bought my Texas Pete and put it in my purse, feeling oddly like a shoplifter even though I just paid.
As I walked to my car, I looked up and saw the Montgomery County seal on the liquor store. I don’t know if anyone out there knows this, but in Montgomery County, you cannot buy liquor from anyone but the government. When you do go to the county liquor store, they scan your driver’s license. With all that data collection, how long before they start rationing?
I miss Howard County. I miss the nice people who don’t honk at you, I miss the clean roadways without beggars, I miss the free plastic bags, I miss the free-market alcohol. Mostly, I miss the lack of obtrusive government interference in my everyday life. I don’t mind paying taxes for roads, schools, or even well-run temporary welfare programs, but I DO mind it when the government tries to tell me how to live. I’m getting out of this county as soon as I can.
If MoCo is trying to force me to get reusable grocery bags and carry them everywhere I go, I’ll get one with the “Don’t Tread on Me” snake. Where’s Patrick Henry when you need him?
Note: Montgomery County still has not informed retail and grocery stores where to send the money from the bag tax. This whole thing is ridiculous.