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State Liquor Status Quo "Economically ... Doesn't Make Sense"

pudge (3605) writes | more than 3 years ago

United States 1

Am I the only one who noticed that in Robert Mak's piece on the liquor privatization initiatives on KING 5, a supporter of the status quo said that the status quo doesn't make economic sense?

Am I the only one who noticed that in Robert Mak's piece on the liquor privatization initiatives on KING 5, a supporter of the status quo said that the status quo doesn't make economic sense?

John Guadnola, Executive Director of the Washington Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association -- which opposes both I-1100 and I-1105 -- said that if I-1100 passes, "[Safeway] won't have nearly the variety [as it has now] because economically, it just doesn't make sense for them."

But if it doesn't make economic sense for Safeway to have that variety, then why do we do it? If carrying a certain number of bottles in a local Safeway doesn't make economic sense, scaling up as we do now can't fix that problem. So Guadnola is basically admitting that -- in a time of severe recession, no less -- he and his group are backing a system that wastes money.

Of course, the truth is that wide variety will continue to exist. I've lived in several other states, all of which allowed retailers to buy with volume discounts and decide what they wanted to carry, and all of which had a wide variety of liquor widely available. We have one of the only states with this sort of a system, and all you have to do is look at the other states and see that almost every criticism of I-1100 is based on fantasy. The only true criticisms I've seen of I-1100 are that it would give us more access to the products we want to buy, which is, as best I can figure, a good thing.

(Oh, and I should also mention that the criticism that this takes money from schools is necessarily false. Any revenues lost by the schools -- if required to make "ample provision" for education -- must be made up by taking it from other programs, or increasing other taxes. Our Constitution requires it. For I-1100 to significantly hurt schools, our state government would have to violate the Constitution.)

Another truth is that the people most ardently defending the status quo, as well as the people behind I-1105, are no less influenced by their bottom lines than the backers of I-1100 ... and probably moreso. There are many people -- like me -- who don't consume liquor or are not in the liquor business, but value the freedom I-1100 provides.

But all of the people I've seen backing I-1105 or the status quo are in businesses that do, or would, profit from the government protection of their business interests, such as Guadnola's organization, whose members control about 95 percent of all beer and wine distribution in the state ... a virtual monopoly that is jeopardized by privatization. Of course, I have no problem with any of the companies represented by the WBWWA. They are probably all fine businesses doing fine work. I do have a problem with government being used to protect their interests, at the expense of the other interests of other companies and individuals.

My two cents? Vote Yes on I-1100, and No on I-1105 and other forms of government control.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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1 comment

State-run Liquor.... (1)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33724782)

Ahh yes, we have that in Oregon as well, of course.

The WBWWA's selfish concern is that having hard liquor more available will eat into the sales of beer and wine. The "doesn't make economic sense" thing... he is saying that it won't make sense for stores to allocate more shelf space to alcohol, so naturally they will replace some of the beer and wine with hard alcohol.

Some very tired arguments that WBWWA gives. Some of my favorites:

Hard liquor will be available from 6:00a.m. until 2:00a.m. instead of 10:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. A person leaving a bar at 1:30 in the morning will be able to buy a bottle of whiskey at the nearest gas station.

Actually, it's more like someone who runs out of whiskey after 7:00 PM will have to (possibly drunk) drive to the bar to continue drinking. Then when they leave the bar (possibly drunk) they have to drive home. If it was available in every convenience store, they could likely find whiskey within walking distance and not get behind the wheel.

Oh yeah, and plenty of people leave the bar at 1:30 and buy a case of beer and continue to drink. Hypocrites.

Compliance with laws prohibiting sales to minors will drop—from a national best rate of 94% at state stores to the 75% average for private stores. That means the odds of a minor making an illegal purchase of hard liquor will go from 1 in 20 to 1 in 4.

They are trying to imply that 1 in 20 minors currently buy hard liquor illegally and that if it passes, 25% of all teenagers will buy alcohol illegally. It is really saying that currently 1 in 20 attempts succeed. An increase in that is not nearly as scary, since most minors don't actually attempt to buy alcohol - they just find someone of legal age to do it. Also, since the stats at retail stores have to be on beer and wine, aren't they pointing out their own contribution to underage drinking?

In states like California with private liquor stores, rates of chronic and binge drinking are much higher. At those levels, I-1100 and 1105 would result in 40,000 additional chronic drinkers in Washington—and these heavy drinkers are the cause of many alcohol-related problems like drunk driving.

Correlation is not causation.

Availability doesn't make addicts. If that were true, a significant portion of the "drug war" would have been over ages ago.

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