H.R. 1161 – An Oxymoron?
In an era when:
- Unemployment is at historical high levels and has remained high for over two years,
- The lynchpin of consumer wealth (housing) for the American middle class is in a prolonged slump with over 22% of home owners under water,
- The top 1% of the population garners 40% of the wealth – the middle class is shrinking while those in poverty substantially increased,
- Debt continues to spiral out of control,
- It is getting harder and harder for Americans to afford or access quality healthcare,
- Infrastructure across the country is crumbling,
- Trading partner currencies are being manipulated,
- The banking industry continues to exercise policies that could easily cause another worldwide recession,
- We continue to engage in two wars, and …
- Fossil fuel based energy continues to hold long term economic growth hostage,
What does 109 of our fine representatives in congress focus on? You guess it!
The Community Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2011 (HR 1161) – introduced by Representative Jason Chavetz (R) of Utah as a follow on to HR 5034 – a piece of legisation that will not solve, rectify or mitigate any of the above.
According to the Statemans Journal, the special interests supporting this bill (the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America), depict this as “an attempt to rescue state and local control over alcohol sale from online alcohol sellers, big box retailers, international alcohol suppliers and professional plaintiffs that want federal courts to allow them to sell ever-larger volumes of alcohol at low or below-cost prices – a trend they see as leading to social ills such as more underage drinking.
Why an oxymoron? An oxymoron is defined as “a figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side”. In this case, the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America don’t have a problem in increasing the volume of sales of alcohol or providing pricing promotions where it serves their interests, they simply want to ensure that if volumes and revenues are going to increase it has to flow through them.
The intent of this bill is to unravel the Granholm vs. Heald Supreme Court decision that disallowed state laws that thrash the Interstate Commerce clause of the Constitution in favor of special in-state treatment of wineries. This bill would ensure that when unfair, special interest state laws are enacted, they cannot be challenged, keeping that the current 3-tired monopoly remains in tact.
One thing this bill would do is decimate the small wine producers who do not produce sufficient volume to get the attention of large distributors and instead depend very heavily on tasting room and wine club sales. This would effectively eliminate out of state wine club sales. So at the very least this bill would increase unemployment for small producers.
I am not going to restate all the facts about this bill – this has already been done on countless sites such as Free the Grapes, Vinography, Stop1161, Fermentation, as well as countless other sites.
- But I will state the obvious:
This is a special interest bill that serves a small minority that are desperate to keep a monopoly in place
It has nothing to do with states rights .. they already have them courtesy of the 21st amendment
It has nothing to do with keeping alcohol out of the reach of minors
It has nothing to do with ensuring sales taxes are paid
And just to let you know I am not focusing on any particular party, of the 109 co-sponsors approximately 42% are Democrat and 58% Republican.
My question to the 109 co-sponsors would be:
- Did you read the bill or simply sign based on contributions and/or quid pro quo favors?
- Do you understand the special interest provisions and the harm it can cause to small wineries and consumer choice?
If you haven’t read the bill, dah … read it!
Finally, how about focusing on the real problems facing this nation that are in the best interest of all Americans?