Thursday, July 14, 2011


When the people have an opportunity to organize an economy, they would do well to consider some of the long-term ramifications of the way they organize it. It is probably not a good idea to have an economy so dependent on one thing that should the wrong person fail to show up for work, the whole thing collapses like the house of cards.

Witness Minnesota. To sell beer at any level in Minnesota, it is necessary to get several layers of permission from the state government. Admittedly this is generally not a big deal, just ill out the form and write the check to the Secretary of State, and permission is granted. For that step at least. One in particular requires beer makers to register their various labels so that the state beer inspectors can tell what they're looking at. A label registration is $30. Molson-Coors makes a lot of different beers, and packages them in both cans and bottles. The tab came to $1170. Someone miscounted, and sent the state some extra money. The state returned the check, and asked for another, which was sent. It arrived four days before the state government shut down, so of course it wasn't processed. Now the deadline looms, and nothing is happening, although the beer inspectors are somehow still on the job.

On a lower level, drinking establishments can't buy beer without a card giving them permission to do so, separate from the certificate that allows them to sell it. Again, no government, no card renewal. Several establishments are stocking up anticipating a card expiry, and some delay getting it renewed.

Good news! the Governor has capitulated! He promises that within 3 days of finalization of the proposed budget, the government will be back to work, and within 5-7 business days, you'll be able to celebrate with a beer.

O.K. I made up that last part, but what do you bet I'm not off by much?

Update: False alarm. The gov says he'll sign, but only if the Reps give up some stuff they included, such as a requirement for a photo ID when you vote.

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