2021 Leg Session, Business/Economy, Columnists, Jon Caldara, Legal, Politics, Uncategorized

Caldara: Puppy sales bill shows allure of coercion

We all want other people to act differently, be it for what we think is their own good or what we think is society’s good.

There are only two ways of getting people to act the way you want. You convince them or you coerce them.

When you convinced them to act differently, they have bought into your world view.

But coercion is much easier. And if you are so certain about your position, you’re doing the idiots who don’t agree with you a favor by taking away their choices. Must be good to be you. You KNOW what’s right for other people. Run for office.

If you think we shouldn’t use plastic shopping bags, you could convince us not to use them because it’s bad for the environment (though those of us who are old enough remember they were originally pushed because paper bags were “bad for the environment”). Or, you could get four out of seven city council members to just vote to ban them.

Once you fully understand the power of this dynamic, you understand how government works.

Some people, like the governor’s partner, Marlon Reis, believe that pet stores shouldn’t sell dogs or cats. If he respected us, he could convince us not to buy dogs and cats from pet stores. Or he could take the authoritarian and faster approach. Convince just 18 state senators and 33 state representatives to pass a bill to ban it and get his husband to sign it into law.

Last week Marlon Reis, sporting Prada shoes (and a COVID vaccine in his young body while my son with Down syndrome and a heart condition still waits) testified for House Bill 1102 which aims eventually to put small pet stores, owned by struggling people wearing work shoes who clean up dog excrement, out of business.

He wants ultimately to eliminate a kind of business because he doesn’t like how it sells its legal product. Get in line. Eighty percent of moms would love to close tattoo parlors.

Stores are already regulated out the wazoo on how they can sell dogs and cats by the Pet Care Facility Act. Three violations and you’re out of business. It’s no wonder there are already so few pet stores that sell puppies anymore. Their trade group consists of only nine business owners. And this bill is a cannon aimed only at them.

HB-1102 is sponsored by Democrat Monica Duran, who hasn’t a single pet store that sells dogs in her district, and, in testament to how good people are driven to authoritarianism in the bizarro world of government, Matt Soper, a normally tolerant Republican who doesn’t usually use his might to destroy small family businesses. (Watch out Matt, a future legislature might take a dislike to one of your small businesses.)

The preamble of this bill as introduced reads like people who sell dogs and cats are part of a Mexican drug syndicate. Pet stores use, “misleading sales tactics, baseless health and behavior guarantees, and a lack of transparency about their breeders, the price of puppies and kittens, and financing interest rates.”

And this, “The vast majority of pet stores in the state do not sell puppies and kittens, but rather sell only products and services, which is more humane and consumer-friendly.” So, the evil owners of pet stores that sell dogs are inhumane and hate their customers. Good to have that officially noted in the law books.

Isn’t this the tactic that all governments use before destroying an unfavored political minority? First paint them as immoral and deviously self-serving, then banish them to second-class citizenry for the good of society. Make them look like dangerous freaks who should be outcast. Worked for Jews. Worked for gays. Will work for those people who make others happy by selling them a puppy.

If, in fact, most pet stores don’t sell dogs or cats as the bill’s preamble states, might that indicate most Coloradans agree with Marlon Reis and don’t want to buy their dogs in stores. Or maybe most store owners just can’t take the regulatory burden already heaped on them.

It does mean these few shops are a minority.

I thought we protected minorities.

Does anyone else find it ironic that Colorado’s first, First Gentleman and a progressive legislature that claims to fight for those who are different, is out to destroy them.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.

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