Andrew Cuomo's War on Tattoos.

Via the Washington Free Beacon comes today’s “Hey! Let’s pound our heads against a wall, because it’ll feel so good when we stop*!” story. Short version: having absolutely nothing else to worry about in New York, legislators there signed… well, read it.


NYC tattoo artists are up in arms (sorry) about a new law that will go into effect in December requiring New York tattoo artists to use single-use ink shots. A petition surfaced yesterday regarding the law, which Governor Cuomo believes is necessary to prevent “potentially serious and life threatening health risks.” Tattoo artists, however, are firmly against the language being used in the bill regarding the ink requirements, which they believe are completely unnecessary.

Full disclosure: I’m not inked, and I have no intention of ever getting inked. But I can follow along on the tattoo artists’ arguments. Basically, in the quest to end the virulent outbreak of Hepatitis C among the population Andrew Cuomo signed a law mandating that all tattoo ink must come in prepackaged, single-use ‘ink shots.’ This stopped New York tattoo artists dead in their tracks, apparently because this is roughly equivalent to handing a professional portraitist a set of kindergarten crayons and telling him to go make a living, using only that. Not to mention the fact that there’s not actually a virulent outbreak of Hepatitis C going on right now. At least, not more of one than usual.

Two more points on this story. First off, the tattoo artists allege that state legislators neglected to talk to people actually in the industry before they passed this law (the legislators said that they did, for what it’s worth). Given that said legislators are acting genuinely surprised at the uproar that they caused, I suspect that there was, as they say, a failure to communicate.  Second?


…Just the usual observation that this isn’t a failure of the System. This is the System as it currently exists. Big Government, among other things, fully embraces the spurious logic of:

  • Something must be done.
  • This is something.
  • Therefore, it must be done.

This particular bit of Bad Logic appears with frightening regularity whenever the government decides to regulate an industry that said government does not quite understand on the technical level.  Which means that it happens a lot, because government tends to not understand industry all that well**.  Everybody has a favorite horror story about how government regulators came in and turned a small problem into a huge one; and I’d like to just point out that if it’s happened to everyone then it’s, well, happening to everyone…

(Image via Shutterstock)

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*I forget who said that first.

Mind you, the reverse is not true: industry tends to understand government quite well, out of a basic sense of self-preservation.


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