Live from New York, It's More Regulation
by Deneen Borelli (bio)
New York City is known for Broadway musicals, but now there's a reality show that you don't want to miss called "Looting Liberty." Starring Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it chronicles the ever-dwindling personal choices and freedoms available to city residents.
While one may not care about what goes on in the Big Apple, everyone should since Bloomberg seems to have national political aspirations.
Attacks on freedom in New York City start with simple pleasures such as dining and leisure activities. As the city's self-appointed head chef, Bloomberg dictates how restaurants can cook. Trans fats, an ingredient restaurants use in baked and fried foods, will be illegal in July of 2008. This is forcing the restaurant industry to revamp its recipes and causing unforeseen costs and changes in taste.
In 2003, while playing the role of surgeon general, Bloomberg fought for a smoking ban for all businesses that severely restricts where one can enjoy a cigarette. Hating smoking but eager to profit from it, he also significantly increased the cost of cigarettes by adding a whopping $1.50 per pack excise tax.
Acting as city climatologist, Bloomberg's crusade against global warming threatens to impede New Yorker's choice in water. The Bloomberg administration has joined the populist movement to restrict the availability of bottled water to reduce the energy used to make, transport and dispose of the bottles. Using taxpayer money, the city launched a $700,000 "Get Your Fill" advertising campaign with slick postings throughout buses and subways while street teams handed out free plastic bottles to fill with tap water. Interestingly, around the same time, New Yorkers were subjected to an 11.5 percent increase on the price of tap water that costs residents an average of $72 more per year.
Bloomberg's global warming hysteria may also restrict driving in Manhattan. Modeled after a program in London, an automobile congestion pricing proposal for cars and trucks traveling south of 86th Street will cost drivers $8 and $21, respectively, during rush hour. Besides taxing the right to drive, this program will also allow Big Brother Bloomberg to track individuals' driving patterns through the roving eyes of video surveillance cameras.
New Yorkers have long been subjected to restrictive gun laws and Bloomberg is showing his anti-Second Amendment zeal as co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Some believe the coalition's real agenda may in fact be to aid the anti-gun lobby by making it easier for trial lawyers to sue gun manufacturers and dealers.
For example, during their 2007 summit, members agreed to make the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment - a measure restricting certain gun data from being shared outside of the law enforcement community - their top priority. They claim the amendment places "restrictions on ability of law enforcement and other local authorities to use gun trace data to combat illegal gun trafficking."
The National Rifle Association, however, says, "Critics, primarily politicians, political appointees and trial lawyers, have falsely alleged that local police cannot have access to the information. The Amendment clearly states that 'nothing shall be construed to prevent the sharing or exchange of such information among and between federal state, local or foreign law enforcement agencies or federal, state, or local prosecutors, or national security, intelligence, or counterterrorism officials, provided that such information, regardless of its source, is shared, exchanged, or used solely in connection with bona fide criminal investigations or bona fide criminal prosecutions.'"
Moreover, the Fraternal Order of Police supports the Tiahrt Amendment "because of our concern for the safety of law enforcement officers and the integrity of law enforcement investigations."
Whether it's guns, cars, food or drink, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is happy to dance in New Yorkers lives to tell them what they can and cannot do. "Looting Liberty" is only playing in one city right now, but this is a show Bloomberg wants to take to the White House. If he does, everyone will be forced to sing along.
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Deneen Borelli is a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network. Comments may be sent to DBorelli@nationalcenter.org.
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
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