Saturday, October 22, 2011

Local Affairs



A lot of you won't really care about this post.  It is concerns a local matter here in lowly Vancouver and the State of Washington and doesn't tend really address the big issues that are normally addressed in these pages.  But perhaps not, read on, gentle reader, and I think that you may find a story that you will be experiencing yourself soon enough.

Proposition 1183 is a move to sell off the state liquor stores and license the sales of alcohol to private businesses.  Pro's and Con's are out in force.  The person's opposing the move trot out the obligatory M.A.D.D. mother to explain what a bad thing drunks are.  The persons promoting the move are trotting out cops and firemen (In uniform of course, the firemen are exceptionally fetching) explaining how, with the new taxes and laws they will be able to do their job better.

From the best that I can see, all of these issues are just window dressing.  The primary funders and drivers of the bill appear to be Costco and the grocery store industry to sell the booze once the state is kicked out of the business. Costco alone has contributed a whopping 22.5 million dollars to fund the initiative They have been nothing but smart about it.  They hire big name marketing firms to do the con job. They have engineered the bill so that only stores bigger than 10,000 square feet get the nod, effectively making this a "corporate only" game.

You see, they are playing all the cards that big money has to play.  They define a market niche where there are profits to be made.  They advertise the hell out of it, with all of the false flags and disingenuousness  so prevalent in our society, and use their new found "rights of free speech for corporations" to tilt the playing field.  But in a sense, I find their very predictability soothing.  Nothing unexpected.  Repulsive perhaps, but nothing out of the norm.

The opposing side is playing its usual cards.  A bereaved mother believing that limiting the sale of booze will stop people from being killed in alcohol related accidents.  The liquor manufacturers fighting a rear guard action to allow them to keep selling overpriced booze to a pliable and compliant bureaucracy.  Again, repulsive perhaps, but nothing out of the norm.

I guess there are two arenas where I find the reactions to be much more unsavory.   The whores in the firefighting industry who are pissed that another public employees gets paid a wage when it should be going to him, and the morons who decry any government activity whatsoever.

First the cops and firemen.  These are the guys that are the most likely to be servicing the not -to-unlikely outcome of freeing up the sales of booze.   They say that cost saving from removing the state liquor stores would make sure they get paid.  I see nothing in the proposal that would ensure that would occur.  From what I can see, the money goes to state and local government with no ear marks.  It just goes into the hole.  Same as now.

What the bill does do is state that getting rid of the liquor stores will add 200 million to the states coffers.  and add 200 million to local governments over the next six years.  Gravy to the government is what we are talking about.  That tax money will come in from firing 1,400 employees.  That won't add up to 200 million a year.  It would also close 324 stores.  Hmm. Nothing close to 200 million there.

So the extra money coming in would primarily be from increased liquor sales primarily benefiting the folks who paid for it.  Fred Meyer and Costco.

So, when I hear the "all government is bad" morons, the clueless stooges, working cops and firemen wax poetic about this piece of corporate gravy, it really makes me sick.  It is a bribe to the state and local politicians to turn their heads while the corporations sell opium to the coolies.

To me, it is better the devil you know.

An afterthought
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/18/us-drinking-costs-idUSTRE79G6UX20111018




1 comment:

Craig Cavanaugh said...

Well I would say the state has no business selling ANYTHING. But it is interesting to watch the corporate giants manipulate their government minions in this case.

The liquor stores around here are pretty much mom and pop affairs, though grocers and "kwik-e-marts" are "allowed" to sell beer and wine. Some are even so nice as to station a tub of ice cold 24 ouncers right near the register.

Ridiculously enough, they are not "allowed" to sell between midnight and 7 a.m. Mon-Sat, and 1 a.m. 'til noon on Sunday. Liquor stores are closed Sunday. But the bars are open 'til 2 a.m. 7 days a week, which is what makes the law ridiculous. None of it does anything to deter drunk driving, etc...