The Dangers of Bipartisanship

The media loves to talk about the joys of bipartisanship, but libertarians run for the hills whenever we hear that word.  Because it means that true legislative suckage is probably on the way.   The horrendous war on drugs is just one example.

Here is another -- freedom to buy alcohol where it is most convenient.  Living in AZ, I have come to expect that I can buy some tequila at my grocery store, but apparently this is a very limited freedom in the US:

AlcoholGroceryStores_Liquor4

There are two reasons.  First, this is where you get one of those left-right coalitions, with Republican social conservatives wanting to limit liquor availability and Democratic big government types wanting to keep sales to a small group that can be tightly regulated (and strip-mined for campaign donations), or even better, to state-run liquor stores.  The second reason is that once any regulation is in place that restricts sales, the beneficiaries of those restrictions (e.g. liquor stores or unionized employees at state-run stores) fight any liberalization tooth and nail to protect their crony rents.

  • Hal Duston

    In Missouri, you can buy liquor, (beer, wine or full strength alcohol) at the gas station seven days a week.

    E.g. "Give me $40 in gas and this bottle of Jack."

  • Matthew Slyfield

    This is almost but not quite as stupid as the drive through liquor stores I have read about.

  • HenryBowman419

    New Mexico used to permit drive-through liquor sales for package liquor, but no longer does. Fridays after work long queues of vehicles would form leading to the windows. I thought it was amazingly foolish.

    Then a friend told me that, when he lived in Louisiana, not only could one purchase package liquor at drive-up windows, but also mixed drinks! This seemed far beyond stupid. I don't know the current situation in Louisiana.

  • Vypuero

    It has been a horrible problem in PA for years. No one can change it because of the entrenched interests.

  • Mike

    Massachusetts has a restriction restriction to Colorado where only five stores in each chain can sell alcohol (protecting the local liquor stores). Also, any new location would need a liquor license transferred from an existing store.

    Washington's rules changed recently, with a ballot initiative sponsored by Costco and opposed by the union for state liquor store employees.

  • Dan Wendlick

    I don't know where they drew the line between categories, but in Wisconsin, rules can vary greatly between communities. While there is a state law that prohibits overall bans on selling alcohol in grocery stores, individual municipalities can still make very restrictive rules. For instance, some communities require a separate entrance, separate register, and all liquor-selling employees to be over 21 and have a bartender's license (which can be pulled if caught selling underage). These rules effectively mean that while you can co-locate and co-own, the liquor and food businesses must be run more or less as independent businesses.

  • DirtyJobsGuy

    The big deal in CT is to keep the package stores in control of wine and hard stuff. There are a limited number of licenses per town. They are a potent political block (like car dealers) but they have the ability to help hide high local alcohol taxes. I always give a special exemption to New Hampshire since the state liquor stores are cheap and a small price to pay for no state income or sales taxes!

  • DerKase

    Where do you get the idea that Republican social conservatives want to limit liquor availability? I'm 54 years old and I have never heard a Republican say anything about the necessity of limiting liquor availability. My guess is that all the liquor laws on the books that limit liquor availability are hold-overs from many decades ago and, as others have said, entrenched interests want to keep the status quo. To blame modern Republicans is a cheap shot.

  • slocum

    Look where the restrictions are generally found--northeast blue states and southern red ones (along with Republican dominated Utah, Idaho, and Montana). If Republicans in these area didn't favor keeping these restrictions, they'd have been gone long ago.

  • slocum

    "...the beneficiaries of those restrictions fight any liberalization tooth and nail to protect their crony rents."

    Yep. In Michigan there was a case that went to the Supreme Court. The state was allowing mail order sales from Michigan wineries, but not out-of-state wineries:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granholm_v._Heald

    After the state lost the case, what happened? Did the legislature liberalize all direct-to-consumer wine sales? Ha! No, of course not. Instead, they put a restriction on the number of bottles that any winery (in or out of state) could ship direct each year (the idea being Michigan wineries are generally on the small side and wouldn't be too badly hurt). What was the justification for this? As I recall, they didn't even try to come up with some BS pretext -- they came out and said, "to protect the wholesalers and distributors".

  • DerKase

    Ok,
    NE blue states. Blue is Democrat.
    Southern red ones. At the time most liquor distributor laws were made, southern states were all Dixiecrats (Democrats).
    So that leaves UT, ID, and MT. Not exactly the most populous of states.
    My point was that Republicans, and for that matter Dems, don't care about changing liquor laws. It isn't even on their radars. The laws were set decades ago and any changes that are made are only local because some individual citizen got fed up with not being able to purchase Jack at the grocery store and went on a crusade.

  • Not Sure

    Idaho and Utah restrictions have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with religion.

  • fotini901

    Here in Georgia, we just got Sunday sales approved not long ago. The opposition was largely Republican.

  • sean2829

    When I moved to Maryland 35 years ago, the county I was in sold liquor only through county run stores. I think their normal business hours were 9 AM to 5 PM, M-F and 9 AM til 1 PM on Saturday. The product was only sold at retail prices, never sale prices and the county managed to loose money running the stores. That's because regular commercial liquor stores would set up just over the border in neighboring counties or states, they were open in the evenings and they usually had much better prices. In the mid-80's they finally closed down the county run stores and allowed commercial stores to open but it took several years for people to change their buying habits. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    MO used to have blue laws which curtailed that on Sunday.

  • tmitsss

    in South Carolina history Democrat Pitchfork Ben Tillman was famous for his liquor dispensaries and his racism (and Clemson)

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    We have drive thru liquor stores in AZ, though I have never tried one.

  • slocum

    But why don't they care about changing the laws? Ordinary people hate the restrictions and Republican 'small government' principles should dovetail right in with that and the restrictions should be gone. But, no--they stay. What incentive do you think the Republican politicians have to go against voters and their supposed principles for decade after decade?

  • Xenophon

    Every major-party candidate for PA Governor since the late 1970s has made abolishing the state-liquor-store system a notable part of their campaign platform. Every elected Governor has at least attempted to reform the state store system, with assistance from (some of) the legislators from their party. Nothing has changed.

    Every public opinion poll since the late 70s has shown that the voters are very strongly against the state store system. I’ve seen poll results ranging anywhere from 80% to 95% in favor of wiping out the state store system. But nothing has changed.

    As best I can tell from various news stories, the issue that *always* kills attempts to get rid of the PA state store system is how to deal with the loss of revenue. The current system doesn’t just provide the state with the *taxes* on the sale of wine and liquor (plus the votes of the state-store employees union), it also provides the state with the **profits** from selling all wine and liquor in the state.

    When Team A is in power, they generally propose to deal with the lost revenue by cutting spending, which is unacceptable to too many players on Team B. When Team B is in power, they propose to “fill the hole in the budget” by raising taxes somewhere else, which loses too many votes from Team A. None of which even begins to address the assorted bootlegger and baptist problems. Sigh.

  • irandom419

    I live in Oredumb and they will card you going into a liquor store for flavored syrup.

  • phil in pueblo

    You cannot buy spirits or wine in a grocery store in Colorado, only 3.2 beer. You also cannot buy food in a liquor store - even beer nuts or Slim Jims. I don't know where you got your info, but it's wrong.

  • brotio

    I do not understand what is stupid about drive-up windows for liquor stores, even those that sell mixed drinks (Wyoming also used to allow this. Not sure about now). An adult should be treated as an adult, until that particular adult proves himself unworthy of adult treatment. If I buy a case of beer, and a Jack and Coke to take home and drink, why is it any of your business?

    MYOB is one of the hardest concepts for busybodies to grasp.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "I do not understand what is stupid about drive-up windows for liquor
    stores, even those that sell mixed drinks (Wyoming also used to allow
    this. Not sure about now)."

    You don't under stand what is stupid about selling alcohol to people while they are driving cars? There is nothing stupid or dangerous about drinking and driving?

  • texan99

    We can buy beer and wine in grocery stores in Texas, but not distilled liquor. At least we don't have a state monopoly on the liquor stores! And the liquor stores apparently can sell all the food they want; Spec's Warehouse is like a specialty grocery store, and many liquor stores at least carry snacks.

  • Jim Collins

    I'm with brotio. What's the difference between having a mixed drink in a sealed container or having the ingredients for the same drink sitting on the seat beside me? As long as I'm not consuming it while driving, there is no difference.

    Don't even get me started on the scam that is the current DUI situation.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    " As long as I'm not consuming it while driving, there is no difference."

    Technically true, but I am very skeptical that the majority of the people inclined to purchase alcohol from a drive through are that responsible.

  • HenryBowman419

    I don't know where you got your info, but it's wrong.

    Pretty sure he was referring to Texas, not Colorado.

  • sagejunction

    Unless there has been a huge change in the laws of North Dakota in the two years since we left you cannot by beer, wine, or spirits of any kind in a grocery store. Ever.

  • ruralcounsel

    Vermont allows liquor stores within grocery stores ... sort of like a limited access rather than out open on the shelves. So the map is arguably wrong.

  • marque2

    I have never heard of Republicans wanting to limit liqueur sales at grocery stores.

  • marque2

    I would imagine, if I purchased alcohol from a grocery store, it would end up in my car anyway. And I wouldn't necessarily "drink" it while I drive.

    It is pretty obnoxious, that I can go to the store and buy a small amount of groceries, forget about the 6 pack in the bag, and accidentally place my groceries in the passenger seat rather than the trunk. Then, in some states, I could get cited for having alcohol within access of the driver.

    If I purchased some slim Jims and a 12 pack of Keystone at a drive through, I am sure I would be able to cope on the whole ride home without needing to imbibe en route.

  • marque2

    Some states don't allow alcohol within reach of the driver - as opposed to having an open container. If I have a beer next to me - all closed up, I could be cited.

    But I agree - absolutely silly. I am sure most people can control their urges long enough to make it to the party, or home, without consuming the drink from the drive through - and how this is different than putting alcohol in the car from the grocery store or drug store, befuddles me.

  • marque2

    This brings up one of my peeves. CVS stopped all Cigarette sales, for our health and go around making a big deal about it. If CVS really cared, they would also get rid of the alcohol, and the candy isle, which also have detrimental effects on people. What a bunch of hypocrites. They just wanted to get rid of the Cigs, because sales were down.

  • marque2

    Utah and Idaho, have the restrictions more because of religious beliefs, rather than being GOP. I am sure the liberal Mormons, also have a preference for restricted alcohol sales in those states.

  • marque2

    A Red state as well, so how did the law ever pass?

    Methinks you are reading too much into the largely Republican. If you have a debate where there are only Republicans, of course the people opposed to the issue as well as the people for it will be Republican.

    I think the folks who want to restrict most are liberals, who are doing it for our good. MADD isn't a bunch of raving Republican loonies after all.

    Logic people.

  • Hal Duston

    While most liquor stores don't sell alcohol to people driving cars, most sell alcohol to people who will be driving cars within five minutes of the sale. I'm not sure the five minute delay gains much.

  • http://itsaboutliberty.com/index.php MNHawk

    Then you haven't ever been to my town in Minnesota, where despite the map, liquor sales are legal in stores.

    EXCEPT

    Towns that ban store sales in favor of municipal liquor stores, such as "Republican" Eden Prairie, MN.

  • phil in pueblo

    What has TX got to do with it? He doesn't mention Texas. He shows a map with dark blue and grey states. Dark blue means spirits in grocery stores. CO does not allow spirits in groceries, period. I pointed out his error.

  • phil in pueblo

    Me again. The fine print under the map says HuffPost says groceries can sell spirits if the have a pharmacy. This is wrong. I live here, I'm a drinker, and I know you cannot buy any alcohol, except 3.2 beer, in any grocery store, period.

  • HenryBowman419

    Sorry, I thought you were responding to "texan99", who discussed sales in Texas. Yep, the map shows you can buy distilled spirits at grocery stores in Colorado, and that's just flat-out wrong. I work in CO quite a bit (live in NM), and was a little surprised that one could not purchase liquor in grocery stores in CO. When I first started working in CO, one couldn't purchase liquor on Sundays, period. That's been changed, though.

  • brotio

    "Technically true..."

    Not "technically", ABSOLUTELY true. Like I said, try treating adults like adults. There are already laws against drinking and driving. Why do you insist on punishing all adults because some don't act like adults? Your reasoning is no different than those who want to outlaw Big Gulps because some people drink too much soda.

    Again, MYOB is a difficult concept for busybodies to understand.

  • brotio

    There is nothing, implied or explicit, in my post that condones drinking and driving, an event that can occur whether one walks into the store to buy booze, or whether it is handed through a window.

    Would you please answer my question. If I buy a case of beer, and a Jack and Coke to take home and drink, why is it any of your business?

  • Matthew Slyfield

    There is nothing, implied or explicit in my post that suggest that drive through liquor windows should be illegal.

    "If I buy a case of beer, and a Jack and Coke to take home and drink, why is it any of your business?"

    If you actually take it home to drink it's not. If you start to drink it in the car, you are putting the lives of people around you in danger and that makes it everyone's business.

    I do not believe that the majority of people who are too impatient to take the few extra minutes to go in the store to buy their booze will be patient enough to wait until they get home to start drinking.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    If your too impatient for the five minute delay from going into the store, I don't trust you to wait until you get home to start drinking.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "It is pretty obnoxious, that I can go to the store and buy a small amount
    of groceries, forget about the 6 pack in the bag, and accidentally
    place my groceries in the passenger seat rather than the trunk. Then,
    in some states, I could get cited for having alcohol within access of
    the driver."

    There won't be enough people in the situation you describe to make a drive through liquor window economically viable. Drive through liquor sales will be dependent on people too impatient to go in the store in the first place.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "Why do you insist on punishing all adults because some don't act like adults?"

    I said drive through liquor sales were monumentally stupid, I never said anyone should be punished for it.

    "Your reasoning is no different than those who want to outlaw Big Gulps because some people drink too much soda."

    Bull, my reasoning is very different. The people getting fat off of Big Gulps are at worst threat to themselves. Drunk drivers put other peoples lives in danger. They are a direct threat to everyone around them.

    Even without drive through liquor sales, far too many adults are irresponsible enough to drive drunk. I do not trust anyone who is too impatient to go take the few extra minutes to go in the store to buy liquor to be patient enough to wait until they get home to start drinking.

  • Hal Duston

    Impatient? How about, it's raining cats and dogs, and I don't want to get drenched. I've already got drive through dinner, picked up my prescriptions at the drive through pharmacy, and dropped off the dry cleaning at the drive through dry cleaners. But it I want to pick up a six pack, I need to get soaked, just because you don't trust me?

    Mind your own business, and let me mind mine.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "How about, it's raining cats and dogs, and I don't want to get drenched."

    That isn't impatience at all in my view. The problem however it that it isn't a common enough situation to make the drive through liquor window economically viable. The drive through window's economic viability and there fore it's existence is dependent on people who are too impatient to go in the store even on the most pleasant day.

  • brotio

    Just so I understand. You think drive-up windows at a liquor store are "monumentally stupid", but you don't think they should be illegal? If that's the case, then I apologize for ascribing motives to your post that you did not mean.

  • brotio

    "Bull, my reasoning is very different. The people getting fat off of Big
    Gulps are at worst threat to themselves. Drunk drivers put other
    peoples lives in danger. They are a direct threat to everyone around
    them."

    No, your motive may be different, but the reasoning is the same.