With the decision this month of Washington state to embrace the free market system and drop controls, citizens in other states are rightfully asking why officials keep this form of central planning, including officials in conservative states that purportedly favor free enterprise over government regulations.
If current political rhetoric is to be believed, we are on the brink of either a Communist or Socialist takeover. Republican leaders and pundits have repeatedly denounced Obama administration programs from health care to bailouts as part of a creeping “socialist agenda,” which appears to mean any centralized control of a market.
What is fascinating is that the warnings over state monopolies omit one of the longest-standing institutions of central planning and control in the U.S.: state liquor boards.
Seventeen states continue to exercise control over liquor as absurd relics from the 1930s. Ironically, there is no better example of the failures of central planning than the “ABC stores” around the country from Alabama to Pennsylvania. Indeed, if Karl Marx were alive and trying to buy Schnapps today, he might reconsider aspects of Das Kapital after dealing with our central alcohol planners.
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