To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mass. Voters Get Chance to Choose Choice on Where They Buy Wine

Voters in Massachusetts will get to decide tomorrow whether supermarkets may sell wine. If that sounds unremarkable, it's not: they're currently prohibited from selling wine, beer or liquor. Relaxing the law seems like a slam dunk, of course, but in that bluest of states, some are still wary of relaxing remnants of those bluest of laws. Here's a taste of the opposition:
Was free enterprise ever intended to be a system in which the strong devour the weak?

“The bottom line,” Phil Barbanti contends, “is that big business wants to cut into our business. They say, ‘All we want is wine,’ but everyone knows that’s just a stepping stone. Beer will be their next request, and then all kinds of alcohol.”

Barbanti, 54, bought his package store, Guy’s Liquor, located in the heart of Saugus center, back in 1980.

“I’m here every day,” he said, “opening at 9, staying until 6, then coming back to close at 10. And I’m not licensed to sell anything else. This is my whole life.”

It’s his American dream.

Should Stop & Shop care? Perhaps not.

But voters who value such notions might give it a thought.

[Ellipsis]

The same municipalities that wage war on smoking think nothing of providing more opportunities to drink.

Second-hand smoke? It’s a valid concern. But it’s no more lethal than second-hand alcohol, which is what kills the victims of drunken driving.

Our leaders want us to believe they care about our well-being. That’s why school lunches must be nutritious, and vending machines must be stocked with sensible choices, and if we don’t “click it,” we will risk a ticket.
Why not tear up Phil's license and let him sell whatever he wants, so he can compete (based on the convenience of his shop, and his likely more discerning stock) with the big boys, and let the big boys sell whatever they want, so they can compete with Phil (based on their ability to provide lower prices and more options)? Consumers would win, and government would held at bay. But for the Puritans in that bluest of states, that would be too easy.