Brad Gerstman in Labor Press: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a Game of “Hide and Seek”

By Brad Gerstman for Labor Press:

Mayor Bloomberg’s latest attempt at a nanny New York City has reached an all time low. Targeting the experimental nature of underage smokers the Mayor’s innovative plan of “hide and seek” contends that if cigarettes are not visible to children, they will simply forget where such products are being sold.

Aside from his serious miscalculation of young intelligence, the Mayor’s proposed policy exists as a meaningless addition to state legislation. As most of us know it is illegal for an individual under the age of nineteen to purchase a tobacco product. So what is hiding a carton of cigarettes behind a curtain going to do for the city of New York? Well for one thing it is going to hinder the sale of product, injuring both small business owners and the unionized distributors they partner with.

Though the Mayor may genuinely believe his proposal will create positive change, it is in reality counterproductive to any attempt at regulating the illegal sale of tobacco products. Rather than crafting a transparent market for tobacco sales, this absurd legislative agenda will merely instigate City smokers to purchase cheaper product from Native American Reservations and online portals. Should consumers turn to these alternatives, small businesses whose subsistence relies on such sales will undoubtedly suffer. The distributing companies who employ unionized workers will also find themselves treading dangerous waters as heightened legislation will instigate the marketplace to further tilt toward illegal opportunities.

The Mayor’s crusade for a “healthy New York” is going to result in an unhealthy market. It is time for us all to reassess the role of government in business, and protect the working Americans that allow our nation to function successfully.

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