24 May 2012

More on Whiteclay

Indignant outrage continues to spread across the Web about the tiny town of Whiteclay, Nebraska. The latest to take offense at AB-Inbev is Jim Hightower, former Ag Commisioner and syndicated columnist. I've been reading Hightower for years. Some times I agree with him, sometimes I don't. I don't know how to come down on his slant on The Whiteclay Situation™.

Hightower reported that a bill before the Nebraska legislature would have limited store hours in Whiteclay, which sells (by my math) 456.62 cases of beer an hour. He also said that AB-InBev gave the chair of the committee considering the bill $4000, and he never let the bill come up for a vote.

While I understand his anger at the ease of which AB-InBev buys legislators, I have to wonder: Wasn't Hightower paying attention when MillerCoors got bills passed in Wisconsin to curtail the local breweries ability to distribute? Was he thinking about something else when a vice-president of AB-InBev went to the Texas Senate to kill a bill that would allow breweries to sell beer after a tour? Does he even know about the lawsuit in Illinois where AB-InBev is trying to self-distribute when they (at that time) did not own a brewery in the state?

Having said that, I know that the proposed law wouldn't have done much besides making white people feel good. If they restrict store hours, the Indians will drive to the next town where there isn't a restriction, with the attendant rise in DUIs and accidents. If they ban high alcohol beers, they'll buy more low alcohol beer.

I don't know what the solution is, but limiting store hours isn't it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:00

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