Pot, Booze, Gasoline, Information … Und Government Uber Alles!

Internet RegLegal Pot  seems more troublesome in some places than the illicit stuff. Colorado having bitten the bullet and legalized it; one might have expected what is happening there. Or not.

The price is moving up and down like a yoyo.

Well, yes … a fair market price has to be found. Cartel dealers overcharged, reflecting the risks they ran. Some competing merchants likely underpriced, to build up a customer base ASAP. A steady market price will no doubt appear quickly, if local governments (and the Feds) leave things alone for a while.    How likely is that?

Alcohol is much easier and cheaper to make than is say, gasoline. Comparing the price for a gallon of each is informative. Comparing the price for a gallon of rubbing alcohol versus a gallon of whisky is even more informative. We know the cause for this difference: government. The government that has had to invest heavily (our money) in enforcement to suppress unlicensed individuals making their own joy juice. After all, anyone who wishes to bother can make their own booze.

But if you wish to sell drinks, you need a license. Where we grew up in California, that cost many thousands of dollars and even in some places, bribes to politicians. Selling packaged liquor required a license too, one that was also not available to just anyone. And every gallon sold was taxed as well. Home manufacture was illegal as well past a couple of gallons per month for personal consumption. So the stuff is expensive.

It is fun to consider corn-based alcohol; “corn squeexings” were classic illicit booze during Prohibition. Corn liquor is still available in rural areas, we hear. And “white lightning” is cheap, compared to the commercial product, even with the risk from law enforcement, or at least it used to be cheap. No taxes, right?

We recall that during WWII, the Japanese locked into their internment (prison) camps in the U.S. deserts, made their own booze. What else did they have to do? It helped pas a lousy life. Prison guards went nuts trying to find the facilities so as to deprive the prisoners of their ‘illegal’ alcohol. The cobbled up stills were hidden in ingenious places, in the walls of buildings, for instance.

Sailors on U.S. Navy ships at sea for lengthy voyages have frequently done the same. Of course the greatest alcohol scam must be the corn-based ethanol added by law to gasoline, under costly Congressional subsidy. It not only costs too much, it is bad for cars and fails to accomplish its environmental goals. A loser on all fronts but that of political reality: politicians benefit from large contributions. Never mind the taxpayers and the environment …

If alcohol can be made in quantities suitable for adding to gasoline, it ought to be a lot cheaper, right? And of course, it is; its the government users are really paying through the nose.

What earthly excuse remains, post Prohibition, for all this government price burden? It clearly does not deprive anyone of booze. Just the greed of politicians, nothing more. And as legal pot spreads, it will follow the same pattern. It will be heavily taxed and licensed. Any bets?

There is another goody in a similar position, one upon which he government is just now attempting to pounce overwhelmingly without benefit of Congress passing a law permitting the move. The regulators are relying on ancient laws written for entirely different reasons, warping them to fit this new situation. It is the Internet.

Old telephone, electric power and broadcast radio and tv laws are being used to justify grabbing control of the net. Those laws were justified to head off rows of phone poles from competing companies running down the same streets and to prevent overlapping broadcast frequencies interfering with each other. What have those to do with the Internet? “What is this I see before me, handle toward my hand?”

The net will be taxed, first. Then its information will be controlled; as in China and Russia. People who know too much are harder to govern. That restriction of free news is already under way, if one observes the declining coverage of the major media. Once you received a menu of many news items of all types from them; now you receive selected items repeated endlessly … the same few items from every outlet, though Fox News may present them from a different angle.

Perhaps there will be a fuss over the grabbing of the Internet. Perhaps. If there is a fuss, will we hear of it?


About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much)
This entry was posted in Government, Legal Pot, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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