It was a nefarious year for nettlesome busybodies employed by the Nanny State. Here are the top power-grabbers of 2010 — those who just can’t leave us alone:
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg
Two feet of snow paralyzed trains, buses, snowplows, and emergency vehicles in the Big Apple this week. Perhaps if Bloomberg — the nation’s top self-appointed municipal food cop — spent more of his time on core government responsibilities instead of waging incessant war on taxpayers’ salt, soda, trans-fat, and sugar intakes, his battered bailiwick would have been better equipped to weather the storm.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
He proposed meddling mileage taxes, mused about a system to track drivers’ routes, lobbied for high-speed-rail boondoggles, and promoted a “livability initiative” to limit suburban growth and force suburb-dwellers into public transportation. Then America’s driving czar floated a plan to disable cell phones in automobiles. LaHood backed off that creepy crusade, but he is still intent on waging war against drivers who choose to use cell phones, entertainment systems, and GPS devices on the road. Just last week, the unstoppable control freak proposed a new rule banning truck and bus drivers from any use of cell phones while driving — including emergency calls on hands-free devices. His anti-car agenda is stuck in overdrive.
The city of Cleveland
The green police in this Midwestern metropolis made headlines in February with an intrusive plan to roll out snooping trash cans — “smart” rubbish bins bugged with electronic identification chips and bar codes to monitor residents’ recycling habits. Violators could be fined $100. Federal stimulus money has gone to fund a similar program in Dayton, Ohio. The technology originated in Germany, was adopted by eco-authoritarians in England (where at least 500,000 trash cans now have snitch chips embedded in them), and has spread across Europe. Welcome to the age of Bin Brother.
The city of San Francisco
The board of supervisors recently took the “happy” out of McDonald’s Happy Meals by forbidding all restaurants to offer toys with children’s meals that exceed limits on calories, fat, salt, and sugar. Even the mayor of the People’s Republic of San Francisco opposes this latest food-control scheme. But the bossy City by the Bay continues to assault consumer freedom with bans on everything from plastic bags to pet sales to soda pop. This summer, Mayor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning Coke, Pepsi, and Fanta Orange drinks from vending machines on city property. The decree dictates that “ample choices” of water, “soy milk, rice milk, and other similar dairy or non-dairy milk” must instead be offered. It’s not clear how vendors will be able to circumvent the city’s hostility toward plastic bottles. Maybe beverages will be served straight out of those noxiously trendy reusable cloth bags?
The architects of Obamacare
After ramming a trillion-dollar package of unconstitutional federal health mandates down our throats, they said children and seniors would be saved, we could keep our doctors, costs would go down, and the economy would get a boost. Reality: Premiums have continued to skyrocket. Insurers nationwide have dropped child-only plans in the individual market. Obamacare taxes forced the AARP to raise its members’ rates. Hospitals have stepped up layoffs and shutdowns. And millions of Americans have been able to keep their doctors and coverage only because their employers, unions, or health-care providers begged the feds for special waivers. Heckuva job, health bureaucrats.