Oakland Passes Anti-Individual Responsibility Tax

Oakland is fed up with high school kids that litter, throwing the lunch wrappers from their Big Mac on the ground rather than putting them in the trash.  The city is arguing that these folks' inconsiderate littering is making a mess of the town and costing the city a fortune in clean up.  The city wants to send a clear message to its kids that this is not going to be tolerated and they expect people to take responsibility for this, so the City Council has boldly passed a new law to ... tax McDonalds to clean up after the little darlings.

So City Council Member Jane Brunner is proposing to charge major fast
food restaurants a fee of $2,400 to hire crews to pick up garbage
around town. She says a study shows fast food restaurants account for
20-percent of Oakland's litter.

Vince Thomas, Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise owner: "I don't have any control over it once it leaves my lot."...

The Restaurant Association reminded the council it could be getting itself into a discrimination lawsuit.

Johnnise Downs, California Restaurant Association: "Because it singles
out and penalizes one specific group of businesses, and basically
places the entire burden of Oakland's litter problems on those

You know what this reminds me of?  It's as if parents were frustrated that their kid never cleaned up after himself and always left messes around the house, so they choose to deal with it by hiring a maid to clean up after him.  What about actually, you know, enforcing litter laws.

By the way, here's another question.  We all know how little of the tobacco settlement that was ostensibly to fund health care actually went to health care.  I wonder in this case how much will actually go to incremental trash pickup and how much will just be dumped into general revenue.


  1. James R Ament:

    Unbelievable - no wait, it's California - up there across the bay from San Francisco. What? Are they in a competition for the most intrusive socialistic city in the USA?

  2. TC:

    "What about actually, you know, enforcing litter laws."

    We all know something like that can't happen, too restrictive on the people, might give them a complex, best to remain silent and just hold up somebody that actually works, oh and porvide jobs?

    Besides if govt actually enforced laws we would have to lay off all those new hires!

  3. Amit:

    Why not I say. When are companies going to be resposible for the junk they produce. Sure people should not litter, but everyone should take responsibility. Its like saying if you sold drugs and people used them in the safety of their homes w/out anyone else getting harmed, then it is okay to not hold the drug dealer responsible. (Now legalizing drug use is a topic by itself)

    Fast food is junk, kills you slowly

  4. greenmeanie:

    Fast food restaurants account for 20% of the litter generated. Who generates the other 80%?

    I think a better deterrent would be a 5% cell phone tax for users under 18. The 5% tax would be repealed only if litter volume went down 20% after it was in effect for one year. The extra revenue could hire additional litter patrols without being discrinatory against certain types of businesses. An additional benefit would be less cell phone chatter.