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June 26, 2009

Overnight Open Thread – Bottoms Up! (or, “How to Drink Your Way to Economic Recovery”) (genghis)

Ok, at first glance, I can get behind this (the drinking more part), but as with any government “revenue enhancement” plan the devil is in the details.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - It's as predictable as a hangover: In hard economic times, governments reach for the hard stuff, jacking up liquor taxes and loosening "blue laws" to siphon money from America's most ubiquitous vice. Booze prices are on the rise from Kentucky to Oregon, and lawmakers in nine states have considered tossing their prohibition on Sunday liquor sales this year. On the federal level, a higher alcohol tax has been mentioned as a possible moneymaker for national health care reform. But in Washington state, officials are going a bit further. Staring down a massive budget deficit, the state Legislature has uncorked one of the country's most aggressive attempts to capitalize on liquor sales.”

“State officials hope to make about $16 million from the new sales projects, which seem likely to draw cheers from consumers.”


But as with everything they’ve got their sticky little fingers in (besides the increased taxes) there’s always a downside (and I doubt any of us will be out in the yard doing somersaults or cheering about that, and not just because we’re sloshed. Which we are.)
”But there's bad news as well: Regulators have increased the profit "markup" imposed by the state, which adds costs on top of the sales and liquor taxes consumers already pay. The surcharge is expected to raise about $80 million over two years, replacing money that lawmakers raided from a liquor fund to balance the state budget. It takes effect Aug. 1, adding about $3.70 to the price of a bottle of premium whiskey. The national distillers' lobby has angrily criticized the markup as a "stealth tax increase" on liquor, and warns that higher prices could cost jobs in the hospitality sector. Recession-pinched consumers will also notice, and could try to go around the state's price hikes, said Paul Clarke, a Seattle-based writer and cocktail enthusiast who blogs at cocktailchronicles.com.”

“Criticism of the state's new liquor plans is also coming from grocery stores, which must compete with state-run liquor stores on profitable sales of beer and wine. Jan Gee, president of the independent grocers' Washington Food Industry lobbying group, said that makes the Liquor Control Board "a monster of two heads: Our regulator and our primary competitor."


Mr. Gee sounds like an alarmist to me (and possibly a dirty Scandi as well.) What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

Tonight’s overnight thread is sponsored by the Sarychev Volcano located in the Kuril Islands, which may or may not be Russian territory, depending on who you ask. The pic was taken from the ISS on June 12th. More info about this photo can be found here along with a couple more links to NASA about it including a vid.

When asked about the eruption Sarychev responded ”Hey Krakatoa! You talk some big shit, but can you do this? Time for you to hang it up and write your memoirs or something. Don't make me go all Vesuvius on your ass”


Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to xgenghisx@gmail.com. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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posted by xgenghisx at 10:23 PM

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