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My Response To Neil Scheck’s Letter

It should be in next week’s Star.

Regarding my friend Neil Scheck’s letter “Think Before Tanning” (please don’t confuse us because of our similar last names) let me state that I think Neil is a great guy and a real asset to Belmar.  We do have an amiable disagreement about the proper role of government in our lives and I’m always glad to hear Neil’s perspective, even if he apparently thinks of me as a “radical libertarian”.

I indicated in a recent column in my blog that I would consider my foray into politics a great success if Belmar were to return to levels of taxation and personal freedom that it’s residents enjoyed just ten years ago.  Was Belmar a “radical libertarian” town back then?  Of course not.  The truth is that it is our mayor and council that are the radicals, imposing one social engineering and economic planning scheme after another on the good people of Belmar these past ten years, and I am the traditionalist who has been trying to slow them down. 

I also take a traditional view of parental rights and do oppose the increasing levels of state interference in child rearing. The law already stops children under fourteen from tanning.  This new law extends the ban up to age eighteen.  Who can deny the inconsistency in the fact that Assemblywoman Angelini doesn’t oppose allowing those under eighteen to get abortions or join the Army, but wants to forbid them from getting suntans because it’s too dangerous?

Although both of my daughters are totally brown right now from long hours spent at the beach, I’m not sure if I would allow them to go to tanning salons when they’re older.  I would like to point out however that tanning is not the “severe peril” that Ms. Angelini has led Neil and others to believe. According to the American Cancer Society, the chances of dying from skin cancer are 1 in 250, or 0.40%.  This figure is for all Americans, including tanners.  In Angelini’s worst case scenario the odds increase by 70% if you tan on a regular basis.  It sounds scary but it actually only increases your chances of dying from skin cancer from 0.40% to 0.68%, still very long odds. And like I said the base figure includes tanners so the actual number is even lower.

Politicians like Assemblywomen Angelini and Weinberg are always coming up with some new danger that we need them to protect us from.  Their solutions always involve us surrendering more of our wealth and more of our freedom to them.  If they really want to help us, they’ll stop trying to micromanage our lives and focus instead on getting us out of this huge financial hole that they and their assembly colleagues have recklessly dug us into.

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