The National Conference of State Legislatures has a rundown of the new laws that went into effect on January 1, and the list includes the usual assortment of overreach, nannyism, economic balderdash and how can we stick it to smokers this year? We hasten to add that the list is certainly just a small sample, and no doubt legislators passed many, many good laws in 2007.
Our favorite bit of populist pandering comes from Minnesota:
American flags sold in Minnesota must be manufactured in the United States. (Minnesota 85th Regular Session, HB 122)
The logic fails: We will stand up for America’s freedoms by restricting America’s freedoms. We will single out a domestic industry for special protections without worrying about our binding trade agreements. We will pass a law that we know cannot stand a court challenge because we’re afraid of being called unpatriotic.
Putting quality and cost-issues aside — and U.S. flagmakers have the quality edge, definitely — U.S.-manufactured flags enjoy a tremendous advantage: Many buyers will seek out those made in America. (We know we would.) But to pass a law restricting an individual’s buying options and even First Amendment rights to protect American-made flags alone? Just flags? Well, pound your chests, but hang your heads.
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