Stupid politics, version MMCVI

Pretty sure I’ve written about our stupid NC law limited craft brewers before (I don’t like any beer– craft or not– but damn do I hate stupid laws).  This Charlotte Observer article is about the interest group lobbying fight between the craft brewers and the beer distributors.  Only one side actually has a sensible argument:

The brewers, led by Charlotte’s John Marrino of Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Todd and Suzie Ford of NoDa Brewing, want to change the law that forces them to contract with distributors once their annual production hits 25,000 barrels. They say that’s not only costly but would lead to curtailed growth and employee layoffs. They support House Bill 500, which would raise the cap…

“For a Republican, to me this is a classic free market exercise,” said Graham, who plans to talk with legislative leaders.

It’s also a classic free market exercise for a Democrat.  And an example of needless, rent-seeking over-regulation at the behest of the wholesalers that suits no political principle, except the one about the wholesalers being huge political donors in recent years.

So, what’s their argument for preserving the status quo:

Tim Kent, executive director the Beer & Wine Wholesalers, said his group will mount its own grassroots campaign with its 5,600 employees, who live in legislative districts across the state.

The brewery production issue, he said, “affects our business and affects our livelihood.”

Got that?  5600 people in the Beer and Wine Wholesale business stand to have their livelihood affected.  No matter that the policy makes no sense, just, hey, that’s 5600 jobs (not like they’d all disappear anyway).  Maybe the wholesalers should spend less on lobbying and just give out some money to these 5600 people.  Anyway, the idea that we should have a stupid policy just because some portion of 5600 people across a state would stand to lose their jobs or have less income is really just ridiculous.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Stupid politics, version MMCVI

  1. Matt Schneider says:

    Craft beer is a trendy business that’s here to stay and your aggressive take down of the stupid policy was spot on.

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