Why Is the Nanny State so Popular?

FEE: Bans on plastic straws, soda taxes, bans on diesel cars, the crackdown on smoking, restrictions on alcohol consumption: the list of restrictions on people’s personal freedoms is steadily increasing. But why is the Nanny State so popular?

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

City of Seattle receives BAN Award for banning plastic straws

The city of Seattle receives the August 2018 BAN Award for being the first major U.S. city to ban the use of plastic straws, threatening businesses who offer them with a fine of $250.

The Consumer Choice Center’s Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski remarked that Seattle’s efforts are no doubt well-intentioned, but they effectively punish consumers who would otherwise need them and force a change for consumers that ultimately doesn’t have any real alternatives.

“Using the full force of municipal law to ban plastic straws is a well-intentioned move that actually has negative consequences,” said Ossowski.

“To begin, many people with disabilities rely on flexible plastic straws in order to sip their drinks or eat particular meals. Paper or metal straws are not yet efficient enough and indeed are harder to use. What’s more, there aren’t yet any real alternatives that promise to reduce waste or pollution. Paper straws, for instance, use more energy in total, resulting in more trees being cut down and more pollution overall.

“Concern about plastic pollution in our oceans is indeed important for consumers and citizens, but municipal and state governments cannot ban and penalize consumers and restaurant owners on their way to a solution. We must look to innovation and the marketplace to help find the next usable product,” said Ossowski.

“By awarding Seattle with the tongue-in-cheek BAN Award we want to highlight how much the plastic straw bans are an infringement on consumer choice.”

Every month the Consumer Choice Center awards an institution, person, or organization with the Bureau of Nannyism or short BAN Award. The BAN Awards recognize the work of an individual or organization that has made major contributions to advocating limits on consumer choice. This award serves to recognize extraordinary abilities in disregarding consumers and evidence-based public policy. The award was created by the Consumer Choice Center to draw attention to the important role politicians, lobbies, and advocates play in limiting consumers’ choice and ignoring them in the policymaking process.

Selection criteria: The Bureau of Nannyism (BAN) is a group of consumer choice advocates that discuss nominations on a monthly base and award the nominee with the most innovative or most blunt actions against consumer choice with the BAN award.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist and informational entrepreneur. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter at Watchdog.org. He is currently seeking a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

Paper or Plastic? Opt for the Latter

NEWSMAX: Be it bans for plastic straws, taxes on plastic bags, or the phenomena of banning styrofoam in major cities: there is a part of the political spectrum obsessed with ridding the world of plastic. However, their measures beg the question if they’re actually achieving their goals, and what unintended consequences accompany the anti-plastic obsession.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

State of California receives BAN Award for plastic bans, coffee cancer warnings

The state of California receives the July 2018 BAN Award for being a pioneer in the limiting of consumer freedom and choice, from the banning of plastic bags to foie gras to the Prop 65 requirements that slapped cancer warning labels on coffee. The Consumer Choice Center’s Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski remarked that California is unique in how it has been able to advance the nanny state.
“More than almost any other state in the union, California holds its own as a top restrictor of consumer choice,” said Ossowski.

“When we look at the expansiveness of the Proposition 65 regulations that have mandated cancer warnings on coffee cups, plus the statewide ban on plastic bags, the politicians and government officials have made it clear that they do not trust consumers and citizens to make their own decisions.

“By awarding California with the tongue-in-cheek BAN Award we want to highlight how much the plastic bans and Prop 65 cancer warning labels are an infringement on consumer choice.”

About the BAN Award:

Every month the Consumer Choice Center awards an institution, person, or organization with the Bureau of Nannyism or short BAN Award. The BAN Awards recognize the work of an individual or organization that has made major contributions to advocating limits on consumer choice. This award serves to recognize extraordinary abilities in disregarding consumers and evidence-based public policy. The award was created by the Consumer Choice Center to draw attention to the important role politicians, lobbies, and advocates play in limiting consumers’ choice and ignoring them in the policymaking process.

Selection criteria: The Bureau of Nannyism (BAN) is a group of consumer choice advocates that discuss nominations on a monthly base and award the nominee with the most innovative or most blunt actions against consumer choice with the BAN award.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist and informational entrepreneur. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter at Watchdog.org. He is currently seeking a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

Ban-the-straw push panned as latest left-wing effort

ONE NEWS NOW: McDonald’s is being lobbied to drop plastic straws from its restaurants but a consumer advocate says straws are just the newest target of overzealous environmentalists.

“Plastics are the new evil and this is part of that political campaign,” says Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the Consumer Choice Center.

A shareholder proposal this week will ask McDonald’s to find alternatives to plastic straws over concerns that plastics are bad for the environment and end up in landfills, where they often fail to decompose over time.

The effort builds off an anti-plastics push on Earth Day earlier this year and it also follows a move by Alaska Airlines to stop using plastic stirring straws.

“This effort to ban straws, or styrofoam, or cotton swabs, is really an outlandish activist campaign that they claim is to improve the environment,” Stier responds.”You can’t prove it and, really, it harms all of us by taking away what is most important – and that is a consumer’s right to choose.”

Stier adds, however, that he agrees with the “reduce, reuse, recycle” campaign.

“But now we’ve gone from reduce, reuse and recycle,” he complains, “to just ban products that activists don’t want us to use.”

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Sucked into Eco-Activism: McDonald’s May Ban the Plastic Straw

LIFEZETTE: “I don’t know where you’re going to get these bamboo straws,” Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the Consumer Choice Center in Washington, D.C., told LifeZette. “I don’t know what planet they’re on by saying we’re going to save the oceans by switching to some of these outlandish alternatives.”

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.