Legislators – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of Iron County Today.

This column comes under the category of “People with too much time on their hands worrying about things they should ignore.” Or, put another way, don’t sweat the small stuff!

Unfortunately, my advice is lost upon two legislators and a regular reader of this column. It has nothing to do with party affiliation.

For instance, Rep. Paul Ray, a former circus performer, is bringing the circus to the Utah Legislature next year with his resolution encouraging California to secede from the United States – and for the State of Utah to them construct economic gates to punish those nasty folks from Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Ray doesn’t seem to care that his fellow Republicans in Texas once mounted a secession drive as soon as Barack Obama became president. But those Hillary Clinton-loving Californians are apparently a different story. “I’m sick and tired of the whining we get from the state of California,” he says. If they don’t like living in the Land of Trump, he cries, Utah should impose tariffs on products from California.

Obviously, Rep. Ray is not a mathematician. Utahns use a lot more products produced in California than Californians buy from Utah. Therefore, not only would Utah alienate those Californians spending tourism dollars at our national parks and ski resorts, but the tariff would also raise the price of California-produced goods for all Utah citizens.

But we cannot leave the Democrats off the hook. One of their veteran legislators Rep. Lynn Hemingway, is busting a blood vessel about the practice of ticket scalping. Upset that his daughter-in-law had to pay an “outrageous price” for a Broadway touring production of “Kinky Boots”, the politician is pushing legislation that would stop people from selling any ticket to a sports or entertainment event for more than 15% over its face value.

The man doesn’t understand the economics of ticketing. Most scalpers get their tickets by purchasing season tickets at a discount, (allowing event hosts to “sell out” and keep the season ticket price down) or purchasing tickets from everyday Utahns who cannot attend a certain concert, play, or game. Doing away with ticket scalpers would not drive down the price of event tickets; if anything, the tickets might well increase due to the loss of scalpers not buying blocks of tickets in the first place.

Even more to the point, why should the government put its nose into whether or not a person is willing to pay a high price to see something? We’re talking about paying for a concert, not a life-saving drug. If my neighbor is stupid enough to pay $1,000 for a $200 ticket to a Rolling Stone concert, that’s his business, not the Legislature’s.

The scalpers take a risk. They might lose money trying to sell tickets to a Memphis Grizzlies/Utah Jazz game. They will hope to make up for it by getting a heady price next year when the Gordon Hayward-led Boston Celtics come to town. Rep. Hemingway should spend his time trying to solve the homeless crisis, not worrying about the price of a “Hamilton” ticket.

And then there’s my loyal reader. She has read this column for a long time, she says, but has never suggested an idea until now. She is concerned that a deceased LDS prophet is being used to promote a commercial non-religious product.

The advertising campaign for a Utah mortuary and cemetery uses an illustration of David O. McKay under the headline “Earning your trust for five generations.”

Sorry, but I see nothing wrong; in fact, it’s a tasteful tribute to a historical company. The ad explains that the LDS leader dedicated one of the company’s chapels in 1942, a facility which “serves people of all faiths.”

It’s not like the company is using Pres. McKay to sell ATVs or corn nuts. He is an historical figure with a connection to a company now celebrating its 150th anniversary.

However, if the mortuary company tried to stop Californians from using its services, then I would join the worriers and call Rep. Ray. He likes to write bills.


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