Booze and Minnesota

A few times Dan and I have joked that Wisconsin has the highest per-capita drinking in the USA. I’m sure that Minnesota isn’t far behind, with winters just as brutal as those in Wisconsin and not too much sunlight during those dark days and nights.

It is summer now in Minnesota and the state is shut down. As it turns out, apparently that isn’t a big deal. They don’t let all the prisoners out of jail, they just shut down the inessential services such as the annoying bureaucracy that requires you to get innumerable permits and papers to conduct your daily business. These not-so-essential state workers total 22,000 in Minnesota; probably a great batch of employees to cut next.

The new Democratic governor in Minnesota, Mark Dayton (wealthy heir who turned into a stone-redistributionist Dem) actually ran on a platform of taxing the top 1%, which is literally the stupidest thing in the world from a state tax perspective, since THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT CREATE ALL THE JOBS IN MINNESOTA. As it is, you’d have to be nearly out of your mind to live in the darkness, snow and miserable mosquitoes (in summer) of Minnesota in the first place; but to put dis-incentives for the rich to live there is even more insane (note – I worked in Minnesota for many years and long winters and met some of the nicest, smartest people in that hard working state. But they are still insane for living in that weather).

As in Illinois, with our governor Quinn, the Democrat eked out a win (with 43% of the vote in the case of Minnesota) and then took this as a “mandate” to implement all of their programs as if they were Roosevelt trying to get the country out of the great depression (although that didn’t work so well, either). In the case of Quinn he raised Illinois taxes 67%, abolished the death penalty, appointed his cronies to state positions, and didn’t cut any spending. Awesome. In the case of Dayton, his plan was to raise taxes on the richest to 13.95%, on top of the Federal rates. Unclear in his plan is WHY anyone wealthy would intentionally stay in Minnesota to have all of their income taxed away while many other states with better climates (Florida, Texas) don’t have any state income tax AT ALL.

I think Dayton was crazy enough to hold out forever, as a populist. Unfortunately for him, the state was running out of booze. Apparently bars need to fill out a permit for $20 or so in order to buy booze and as they expired the bars would have to shut. Miller was going to have to shut down their operations for a clerical snafu (they overpaid so the state sent their permit back) and not distribute booze at all.

I really do think that the impending stopping of alcohol in the state of Minnesota helped precipitate a resolution to this budget standoff, where the governor gave in on his plan to drive all job-creators from the state.

Hats off to the Minnesota legislature for standing firm. Unlike Illinois, where not only do the dems run our legislature but our red representatives aren’t creative enough to flee the state at the prospect of a giant tax increase, like they did in Wisconsin to attempt to block Walker’s reforms.

Cross posted at LITGM

4 thoughts on “Booze and Minnesota”

  1. “Unlike Illinois, where not only do the dems run our legislature but our red representatives aren’t creative enough to flee the state at the prospect of a giant tax increase, like they did in Wisconsin to attempt to block Walker’s reforms.”

    Are you even hinting at endorsing the tactic of being a Fleebagger? Are you not aware, Carl from Chicago, that 3 Democrats in Wisconsin are facing the next phase of their recall elections in the next couple weeks? That they are facing recall for Fleebagging?

    Do you know that you are giving political cover to the Democrats in those recall elections?

  2. Dayton has had personal problems with alcohol. He made this public. He has gone through therapy, the guys at Powerline got Christmas cards in the past from Dayton where he described the progress of his addiction (you know those “here is the past year in the So-and-So family”).

    What is interesting is that when the alcohol supply was threatened in the state, then he blinked. Maybe he his recovery is still a work in progress . . . ?

  3. (1) The more people a factor affects the greater its political impact. (2) The more trivial a government task the people view as being, the more angry they get at a failure to perform.

    Therefore, I could see a loss of booze having a surprising powerful political impact. You would have half of more of the population thinking, “I personally can’t get a drink because those numbnuts can’t even get things together enough to perform a trivial task like issuing liquor license!”

    The fact that the issue is universally recognized as being trivial in the grand scheme of things makes it worse, not better, in most people’s eyes. People expect that “competent” and “effective” automatically means an ability to effortlessly handle the trivial. When an individual or institution can’t handle their trivial task, the intuitive assumption is that they can’t handle anything more complex either.

    Yeah, that would scare any sane politico.

  4. It would have been an interesting legal question, if the bars had simply gotten liqour from Wisconsin in order to stay open, as to whether a state’s rules still apply when it is the state which is unable to perform the functions necessary to enable the regulated activity to occur.

    Even more telling than the liquor deal, the ham-fisted head of the Dept of Natural Resources tried to tell Minnesotans, who love to fish to an extraordinary degree, that they couldn’t fish unless they had a state license, even though the state wasn’t issuing licenses.

    That would have been an interesting “resistance” moment also, if large numbers of people who were tagged for fishing without the unavailable license had challenged the state’s right to operate in such a fashion, i.e., demanding its rules be observed even when it was the state which had defaulted on its part of the regulatory process.

    Personally, I think these shutdowns should be encouraged at all levels for no other reason than to demonstrate how unnecessarily inrusive the government has become, and how unneeded it really is in most common social or economic activities.

    The stronger the sense becomes that much state activity is really just a meaningless nuisance, the more ready the populace will be to reduce it significantly. That is the only true solution to many of the problems we currently face.

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