It would appear that stupidity abounds, no matter where you may be. With Washington finally getting rid of the state liquor monopoly, this Friday being the first day that hard alcohol can be sold in non-State run retail space, the confusion that set in before the bill was even passed is still going strong.
All over Facebook and the Twitterverse, people are talking about the 27% “increase” in the taxes on liquor that was included with the bill, and horribly misinterpreting that tax. Even some news agencies, who shall remain nameless, are getting it stupefyingly inaccurate, and these people get paid to present the facts.
Meanwhile, while all of Washington is abuzz with shock and awe, confusion and wonder, Idaho is busily flexing their moral-muscle and banning a certain brand of vodka. Why, you ask? Well, this brand of vodka was obviously dangerous! It has a name that might possibly be insulting to a certain group of constituents. It could even be religiously offensive. Five Wives Vodka, made it Salk Lake City, could possible offend Mormons, what with the name that insinuates polygamy and a picture of five women hitching up their skirts on the front of the bottle.
This vodka was so offensive that the Idaho state-run liquor stores are refusing to carry it. Since Idaho runs their liquor sales in the same way Washington does (until Friday), that effectively closes the entire Idaho market to a manufacturer for no reason but the whim of the powers that be in Idaho.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, the 27% “increase” in liquor costs will be more than offset by the fact that the WSLCB is no longer able to tack on their 52% markup on every bottle. If you do the math, you may notice that 27% is less than 52% (25% less, in fact) and store will be competing for your business, so they won’t be able to just tack on that 25% as a profit margin and keep the prices the same that they were. You’re likely to be paying between 10% and 20% less for your liquor purchases now, and you get the choice of where to go and the additional benefit of different stores choosing to stock items that the state run stores didn’t opt to have.
While Washington, by privatizing liquor sales, is looking at reduced cost, increased convenience and increased selection, Idaho continues the government monopoly model and has likely cost jobs for a distillery in Utah because they didn’t have a PC enough name and label for the people of Idaho, who must be easily offended since the legislature has to censor what they see on shelves.