- Drew Carey: "Welcome to the Nanny State Nation"
- The World Food Crisis
- Why Congress Won't Pass a Big Gas Tax Increase
- New at Reason.com and Reason.org
Drew Carey: "Welcome to the Nanny State Nation"
"Welcome to the nanny state nation, where the government minds your own business," Drew Carey declares in a new Reason.tv video. After running through a laundry list of bans on everything from saggy pants to smoking outdoors to plastic bags and light bulbs, Carey asks, "When did so many of us turn into ban-happy busybodies?" For decades, California has been at the forefront of the ban brigade. But Carey wonders, "Is New York City the new California? Let's see. Smoking ban - check. Trans fat ban - check. Bans on aluminum bats - check. Ban on straddling a bike wearing inline skates drinking coffee on the subway? Check. Check. Check."
"These various, and ridiculous, bans being implemented across the country reduce all of us to the status of children, incapable of making informed choices," says Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason.tv. "Sadly, this paternalism and intolerance towards others is one of the defining characteristics of contemporary politics. It would be nice if our politicians could occasionally remind themselves this is a country founded on the idea of the individual's rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even if that means smoking, getting fat, and playing online poker while wearing saggy jeans in a room lit by incandescent light bulbs."
» Banned: Welcome to the Nanny State Nation
» Archive of Drew Carey's Reason.tv Videos
The World Food Crisis
What's causing food prices to skyrocket? "A series of government policy failures that are preventing farmers from growing the food demanded by the world's hungry billions," writes Reason science correspondent Ronald Bailey. "Riots have broken out in more than a dozen countries as prices of food staples have doubled and reserves declined to their lowest levels in a generation. The world food crisis is at the top of the agenda at the Group of Eight summit meeting in Japan this week...biofuel mandates in the United States and Europe are diverting food into fuel and boosting the price of feedstock crops like corn. So, on the demand side, higher corn prices cause food consumers to shift to rice and wheat. On the supply side, higher corn prices cause farmers to reduce rice and wheat production in favor of corn. These shifts in demand and supply have tended to boost the price of rice and wheat and other crops. IFPRI estimates that increased biofuel demand accounts for 30 percent of the increase in weighted average grain prices. In response to higher food prices, several major food-producing countries have instituted export bans on various agricultural commodities. Export controls shrink the size of the market and reduce domestic prices to farmers. Of course, reduced prices signal farmers to produce less. For example, China has banned rice and maize exports, and India has banned exports of rice and pulses. Argentina has raised export taxes on soybeans, maize, wheat, and beef, and Ethiopia and Tanzania have banned exports of major cereals. In addition, Benin, China, Malaysia, and Senegal have imposed price controls on some staples. Price controls are especially damaging because they strongly discourage farmers from increasing their production."
Why Congress Won't Pass a Big Gas Tax Increase
Reason Foundation's Robert Poole writes, "Today's higher gas prices are already having many of the effects that greens were wanting a higher gas tax to produce: reductions in vehicle miles traveled (and hence in gasoline consumption), and some large shifts in vehicle purchase decisions, away from light trucks (pickups, minivans, SUVs) and back to passenger cars. Unless the pump price of gas falls back into the $3-3.50 range next year, I just can't see the political case for Congress enacting a large federal gas tax increase, regardless of who is in the White House or heading up the U.S. DOT...In short, we're unlikely to see a big federal gas-tax increase next year. What we need instead, in the 2009 reauthorization, is a fundamental rethink and narrowing of the federal role, and the removal of all remaining barriers to tolling and public-private partnerships by the states. That way, states and urban regions will have the tools they need to close the very real infrastructure funding gap."