by: Eric Franzen

Guest Editorial Graphic Schilling Show BlogFull disclosure: I am not a scientist, a doctor, expert, or politician. For those who have blind faith in ‘authorities’ such as those, you can stop reading now.

I reside in the slice of the pie that does not have the ability to sign ideas into law. While I try my best to voice my concerns to those that do, at the end of the day I have to obey like a good little serf. I often have dreams of being one of the ‘rulemakers’, but they are frequently dashed as I am not an accomplished pontificator of political topics, and easily get talked down (or over) by those with a ‘vast knowledge’ of a particular subject.

I just react, often with anger to be honest. The powers that be never stop, continually pounding away at the populace, always in the opposite direction of liberty. In the name of public this, community that, planet this, global that; they can seemingly do anything. The latest: taxing your grocery bag.

Let’s see how this is working out:

My wife went to Food Lion in Forest Lakes the other day, and she said they have signs stating that they are required to charge 5-cents per plastic bag, and that absolutely no one was getting plastic bags. She said there were piles of paper bags at each checkout.

“Ah ha!”, they would say, “See, we succeeded! Less plastic in the landfill!” Yay planet!!

Call me an ignorant plebe, but as with most “solutions,” were the consequences of this thought out?

I have seen the endless studies and, in my humble opinion, lopsided models of how man is causing climate change. As I’ve mentioned, I am no expert, but I think I have some common sense, and common sense says one would also study and model the effects of any given decision. Will someone please show me the studies and models for the following environmental and monetary costs of this most recent decree:

  • impact on paper industry
  • comparative fuel consumption for various bags from creation to disposal
  • impact on forestation
  • implementation and maintenance of said program
  • increased demand for household plastic garbage bags as those from grocery stores were re-used, often 100%
  • effects on plastic industry, jobs
  • displacement of tax base as many will shop in bag friendly counties
  • where is all this money going, and when that funding stream dries up due to the intent of limiting plastic bag use, what will replace it

It all reminds me of the electric vehicle brainwashing. I am not against electric vehicles by any means; but the raising of certain actions to deity status, while vilifying and outright banning others is utterly insane. The true environmental impacts of electric vehicle production and disposal are never mentioned, just that they are clean and good and that the combustible engine is dirty and bad.

To cut to the chase, I believe we are being fed propaganda to advance an agenda. We are not given the whole picture to make proper decisions for ourselves as individuals or private businesses.

The government is micro-managing more of our lives as each day passes. The wisdom of the market, which is simply the people freely engaging in commerce, is being undermined by all sorts of false and exaggerated claims of emergency.

Why is it always a ban? A tax? A mandate? There have to be some other ideas besides these. Hmmmm…

  • Offer some sort of recycling/collection reimbursement (like for cans/bottles) for plastic bags.
  • Incentives/tax breaks for stores who keep grounds clear of all plastic
  • Conduct objective study on incineration versus landfill disposal
  • Encourage development of alternative materials that could gradually and effectively replace the plastic

Those are just off the top of my head. Maybe none of those would work, who knows? I simply wonder if they brainstorm about these issues or just tax to save the dolphin? Given the make-up of our current county leadership, I would bet it’s the latter.

We are pounded almost daily with groupthink fear mongering on the evils of ‘fossil’ fuel use. On the other hand, we are never shown the consequences of so-called alternatives. Take for example the Ivanpah solar thermal power plant in the Mohave Desert. An estimated 6,000 birds a year are incinerated in mid-flight due to the highly concentrated beams of heat. Approximately 50 million dollars have been spent in the relocation of a species of desert tortoise whose habitat has been upended by the project. Where are the pictures of exploding birds? Displaced wildlife? Nowhere, because it would harm the agenda.

Recently, and perhaps at the height of ‘save the planet’ hypocrisy, is what was forced upon us due to our response to Covid. The issues are endless, but in regards to the topic at hand, are the catastrophic amounts of waste that were generated. We just spent two plus years dumping more plastic on a global scale than can even be fathomed. The masks in the oceans alone are dumbfounding.

And yet here we are. The same powers that just got done trashing the planet in the name of health and safety, are now going to tax our grocery bags to, wait for it….. save the planet. This is hypocritical hubris of the highest degree.

Lastly, lest I forget, perhaps the biggest consequence to this latest tax is that we are no longer buying any groceries in Albemarle County. Greene County is fortunately close by and they get the bulk of my business for most things, food will now be among them.

In the end it’s yet another example of politicians out of touch with the people. Instead of coming up with thoughtful solutions that consider long-term consequences, they just tax, hitting the poor among us most, and hope that yet another government program will save us from a made-up problem.,generation%20…%204%20%234%20Lower%20carbon%20footprint%20


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The Schilling Show frequently publishes guest editorials from community contributors on topics of interest to this audience. The views expressed within do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher, although they may. For consideration of publication as a guest editorialist, please send an email to The Schilling Show.


  1. Exactly! Both my teenagers are cashiers at Food Lion. It has been an absolute disaster. The customers are yelling at them because of the bag tax. Having to use paper has dramatically slowed down the grocery bagging process.
    I use, and reuse my plastic bags. They get multiple uses of wear because of how I use them. We now have to purchase additional plastic bags to skip the cat litter box. We have had to find a way to clean and sanitize the kids lunch bags since I can’t throw their lunch in a plastic bag anymore. I have an auto immune disease which causes numb hands. Carrying my groceries in a paper paper bag is incredibly difficult and awkward. How do we plebeians overturn this ridiculous law?

  2. Reid’s told me the way the city/county are enforcing this are to make the grocery stores report how many bags they purchase and then submit 5 cents per purchased bag to the city/county. Then they have to make up by charging the customer. I say, increase vegan, organic and all the other stupid crap crunchy people buy by 20 cents and have that pay for the bag tax.

    Also, this isn’t a great practice, but I just go to self checkout at Kroger, use as many bags as I need and self-report 0 bags. Get the corporations to push back on this nonsense by hurting their bottom line.

  3. I generally always pick paper bags because i reuse them in the garbage can, however when i am where i don’t have that option I will put a handful of plastic bags in my filled plastic bag so i can justify paying the tax.
    Lest anyone think this has any altruistic motives behind it, let me remind you of the “rainwater tax” that was somehow going to cure “runoff” and our sewer system issues. They have been collecting that “tax” for years now and i see no major projects in the works to help “the environment” do you? I’m reminded of something Judge Judy would say….”don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining outside”.
    With all the new taxation schemes they have come up with over the last several years have you asked yourself…”where is all that money going?…I actually don’t blame the politicians, frankly i blame the mind numb democratic voters who keep electing these democrats who keep taxing us.
    I’m reminded of the kid who is sent to the principals office to get a paddling and after each swat he has to repeat “Thank you sir, may i have another!?”….the cycle never ends…

  4. I am a pet sitter and all my clients who used to reuse plastic bags are now buying plastic bags for the purpose.

    Those of us who are low income cannot afford to buy plastic bags. And they created this tax at a time when inflation and affordability of basic needs is off the charts.

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