Sunday, November 29, 2009

Business as usual

The bill before the state legislature to limit the number of liquor licenses issued is a really stupid idea. It is nothing more than a hand out to current holders of liquor licenses. But perhaps the most frustrating thing is that the benefit is obvious to liquor store owners and anti-drinking groups, so they all come out in droves to support this foolish bill. The harm caused by the bill will be to consumers of alcoholic beverages. The harm to these consumers is virtually undetectable to them because they may not realize that the reduced competition may lead to higher prices. Furthermore, the harm to any one consumer may not be worth their time to learn about the bill and speak out against it, whereas the benefit to any one liquor store owner is much greater. Therefore, no critics of the bill have shown up to speak out against the bill.

A bill that would cap the number of licenses at one per every 2,600 residents is under consideration by the county's General Assembly delegation, though sponsors Dels. Warren E. Miller and Guy Guzzone say they are open to other ways of achieving the same end. The 11 state legislators heard no discouragement at Tuesday night's annual hearing at school board headquarters for bills that would apply only to Howard County. (Emphasis mine)

This is a classic example of how politicians use rational ignorance to please special interest groups. The ideal piece of legislation, from the point of view of a politician, is one in which the benefits are obvious to those who benefit, and the harm is completely off the radar screen of those who are harmed. This legislation fits that mold perfectly.


Anonymous said...

Now here's the real question. Because you are against this particular legislation, does that put it on the side of referendum material?

Freemarket said...

I would not offer my signature in support of a referendum over something this petty.

Anonymous said...

You had me hoodwinked for years, fm. Now I see what you're really about -- no different than others who use twisted ideology to backend support for opinions.

Freemarket said...

Anon- you’re delusional. Seriously.