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April 03, 2009

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Sounds like politics as usual.

Jason, can you edit this a bit and send it out to a few F.L. newspapers, puh-leez? I thinking the Finger Lakes Times. Sheldon Silver needs to be run out of office the way Nixon was.

Peter,

After years of following the money, my deepest consideration on most political issues is that letters to the editor are fine, but a revolution is necessary.

Jason rightfully writes about the oldest truth: to find what happened with any particular political issue all one need do is to follow the money.

If our culture diverted the money that goes to buying political favor into such frivolity as health care access for all citizens or eradicating poverty or maintaining a competitive manufacturing base, we could fix those issues and probably enjoy true representative government as a plus!

Jason is spot on: whether or not the issue favors the consumer and the wineries, wine be sold in grocery stores as soon as the grocery industry captures more ownership in state government.

I know it wouldn't balance the NYS budget, but what if all that lobby money had gone towards it? Think maybe some of the teachers who are losing their jobs across the state might be able to depend on a job next year?

I'm just saying.

I do not think that money that is spent on one pursuit is easily tranfered to another expenditure.

That is, what holds back certain spending levels in edcuation, health care, or any other major area is about policy, not money. Some policies work, some policies don't, and money doesn't necessarily have something to do with those specific outcomes.

We could argue forever about how much money can be effectively spent in health care or education to reach desired outcomes, but I don't want to start a debate like that. My point is a little more subtle (despite the lack of subtlety!).

If legislatures are left unchecked they consolidate power in such a way that those with money are most easily heard. Lobbying for a cause is not a bad thing, but when lobbying becomes so lucrative it implies that legislatures are not being held to account for paying attention only to those who can afford to shout the loudest.

Government in New York has embedded itself into our lives in such a way that we are forced to lobby politicians to either give us more or give us less. Why do they have to be a part of EVERYTHING? Can't we just carry on with commerce in the best way possible without having to consider Albany's reach all the time?

What ticks me off about this whole grocery store thing is not whether it's good or bad to have wine in grocery stores; it makes me mad that we haven't been able to buy and sell wine without restrictions for the last 60 years as distribution systems became modern and convenient. However this issue falls in the future means that the state will either protect or destroy an entire industry to benefit another because they didn't allow for a free market to begin with.

Jason,

What you say is all true, but in this case, "all politics is not local." Money runs every level of government, and in most countries.

As for the 60 years of restrictions, it's actually 76 years (Repeal was 1933) and it is a constitutional issue that can be fixed only by either a constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court ruling that negates a constitutional amendment. Neither looks possible in this century.

Of course, under the present amendment, states have the right to NOT be restrictive, but like regular politics, regulating an industry quickly becomes less about the public trust and more about revenue.

If NY were to relax regulations, what excuse would it have for maintaining an alcohol control bureaucracy and a series of fees and taxes as revenue?

I wasn't referring to the ability of states to restrict alcohol, ala 1933, but the decision by some states to retain strict laws as distribution and sale of products became more streamlined and efficient after World War II (basically, the incremental birth of the truly SUPER market). At some point in the past, New York could have chosen to allow any and all products to be distributed and sold using the most market-friendly means possible. Supermarkets could have decided whether to sell wine and how to do so. It's tough to say what the result would have been and whether we would have seen the emergence of a multi-pronged industry with sales in grocery stores as well as liquor stores that specialize. Who knows?

The point is, New York chose to restrict and continues to be restrictive, and therefore it allowed the formation of a large liquor-store industry that was without competition. Now, the state has threatened to destroy a liquor store industry that exists in its current form only because the state protected it and guaranteed its survival.

I believe in free and open commerce, but I can't help but feel bad for the situation the state has put all of us (supermarkets, liquor stores, and consumers) in. Damn Albany all to heck!

"Damn Albany all to heck!"

It's ok to say HELL--especially in this case...

Who knows, maybe your sentiment will be prophetic?

Thomas,

I would have said HELL but I didn't want to give those bastards the satisfaction... (;

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