Monday, August 30, 2010

Hooray, beer! (III)

More bloggers are picking up on the thread of pointless laws regulating the sale of alcohol. Conor Friedersdorf:

In New York, supermarkets aren't allowed to sell liquor. What possible reason could there be for this? Were members of the New York Legislature to tour California, they'd see that supermarkets are the most responsible sellers of alcohol, and that high school kids with fake ideas always seek out small liquor stores. 

That same law exists here in Minnesota. Grocery stores are only allowed to sell 3.2% beer. As a consequence, people like me bootleg Target boxed wine back from Illinois, where the laws are nowhere near as strict. On the topic of Target, to make Conor's point, cashiers must ask for ID from everyone, regardless of age, and they scan every ID. Suffice to say, the stoned-looking kid in his 20s at the liquor store down the street isn't quite that careful.

Matt Yglesias jumped on the bandwagon, building off Conor's post:

Indeed, my general view is that booze in the United States should be more taxed but less regulated. Rules that aim to promote public health by restricting the availability of alcohol create a large regulatory surplus that accrues to license-holders. If you try to do the same thing through booze taxes, then the surplus accrues to the state and can be used to finance lower sales taxes or better public services.

Yep. Though this isn't the first time we've been over this ground.

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