TLP: The Downside of Potential

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 , , , 0 Comments

Editor's note: I'm not quite sure how to best introduce Jr Deputy Accountant's new contributor because I don't know where to start. I found The Lazy Paperboy hanging out on JDA one day long ago and he hasn't really left my stoop since (it works out that way, he's grown on me since and who else will get me the headlines without charging me a $9.99 a week delivery fee?). I've decided to bring him on board due to his wealth of talent and experience in writing and reporting with the hope that you all give him a warm welcome. Or else I will be forced to beat you. XOXO, JDA

It looks like it's come to this:


Lawmakers in several states with tight control of liquor sales are considering legislation that would shift the job to private industry, saving money and raising revenue.

Some states are seeking a windfall by auctioning licenses to private companies to run the retail operations. Others are considering selling distribution centers. Also, privatization would remove costs including paying employees and overhead such as energy bills.

Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, Vermont and Mississippi are all weighing proposals that would reduce the powerful roles they play in the distilled-spirits or wine businesses through state-run distributorships or retail stores.

Alcohol is a potential remedy to revenue-hungry states because such sales usually remain relatively stable in economic downturns, and expanding sales outlets can lift tax receipts.

How about “alcohol is a potential remedy to the shitty feelings people have when they see the value of their houses fall, lose their jobs, watch things in Washington or their state capital not change …” and on and on. Maybe that’s the key to “relatively stable” sales, no matter what else it might be smarter for people to spend, or not spend, their money on.

A state senator in Washington argues for more efficient government in backing privatization of liquor sales to raise $350 million over five years. A Vermont state senator sees the potential to save a few million dollars a year doing the same thing. Mississippi’s governor wants to get out of the wine business and collect $2.5 million a year. In Virginia, the governor anticipates a $500 million windfall from privatizing liquor stores.

More WSJ:

When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the federal government gave states the power to regulate sales. Some states chose more-active roles than others, believing that operating distributorships or stores could help control consumption and mitigate social consequences.

Yeah, about that. Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that you grew up in a state with a legal drinking age of 21. And let’s say that a neighboring state had a drinking age of 18 and it was just a quick and easy 22 miles straight down the highway to the border, where you could just slam on the brakes when you crossed the line and skid into the parking lots of any number of bars or mini-marts or grocery stores eager to load you up. You and the carload of 16- and 17-year-olds you hauled down the road with. Fake IDs? Sure. No IDs? Often.

It worked. And it’s pretty amazing that years later you have no memory of any fiery highway crashes. Not that they didn’t happen, you just had no memory of them. You know, just because.

Now which state government’s policy led to these reckless but entirely predictable teen-age adventures? The one that kept beer, wine and liquor out of reach? Or the one that ended up luring new drivers with no fear and scant judgment down the road?

And how can any of those now considering these changes claim to have any interest in mind other than dollars?


Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.