David Kirkpatrick

August 5, 2010

Jimmy Carter saved microbrews and craft beer

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:07 pm

Who knew?

From the Jon Chait link:

To make a long story short, prohibition led to the dismantling of many small breweries around the nation. When prohibition was lifted, government tightly regulated the market, and small scale producers were essentially shut out of the beer market altogether. Regulations imposed at the time greatly benefited the large beer makers. In 1979, Carter deregulated the beer industry, opening  back up to craft brewers. As the chart below illustrates, this had a really amazing effect on the beer industry:

US_Brewery_Count_Biodesic-thumb-400x339

The above blockquote and chart come from an E.D. Kain link in Chait’s post.

Here’s Chait’s take on the topic:

It’s worth noting that Carter got no political credit for this move, and that the benefits didn’t appear until long after he departed. Some policy successes — like a successful war or peace treaty — yield immediate political dividends. But others produce little change until many years later, by which time everybody has forgotten your policy had anything to do with it.

In related news (and the reason for the linked posts — today is International Beer Day (well at least for another hour or so.)

May 15, 2009

The “war on drugs” rebranded

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:39 pm

The Obama administration has rebranded the “war on drugs.” The key being taking the loaded word, “war,” out of the equation. The moniker was stupid to begin with and as has been noted around the blogosphere gave rise to a martial us-versus-them in law enforcement circles.

It’s not much, but it is a baby step so Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske deserves some kudos.

Now let’s take a look at that “czar” thing …

From the Cato Insitute’s weekly dispatch:

White House Official Says Government Will Stop Using Term ‘War on Drugs’

The Wall Street Journal reports that White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske is calling for a new strategy on federal drug policy and is putting a stop to the term “War on Drugs.” “The Obama administration’s new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting ‘a war on drugs,’ a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use…. The Obama administration is likely to deal with drugs as a matter of public health rather than criminal justice alone, with treatment’s role growing relative to incarceration, Mr. Kerlikowske said.”

Will Kerlikowske’s words actually translate to an actual shift in policy? Cato scholar Ted Galen Carpenter calls it a step in the right direction, but remains skeptical about a true change in direction. “A change in terminology won’t mean much if the authorities still routinely throw people in jail for violating drug laws,” he says.

Cato scholar Tim Lynch channels Nike and says when it comes to ending the drug war, “Let’s just do it.”

Cato scholars have long argued that our current drug policies have failed, and that Congress should deal with drug prohibition the way it dealt with alcohol prohibition. With the door seemingly open for change, Cato research shows the best way to proceed.

In a recent Cato study, Glenn Greenwald examined Portugal’s successful implementation of a drug decriminalization program, in which drug users are offered treatment instead of jail time. Drug use has actually dropped since the program began in 2001.

In the 2009 Cato Handbook for Policymakers, David Boaz and Tim Lynch outline a clear plan for ending the drug war once and for all in the United States.

December 5, 2008

It’s Repeal Day (of prohibition) …

Filed under: et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:05 pm

… so have an adult beverage tonight!

I touched on the subject here with a post on the war on drugs, but this a milestone — the 75th anniversary of the repeal of the ban on alcohol. An ill-advised and ill-fated excerise in social puritanism out of control. Somewhat like the ongoing war on drugs.

Cato-at-Liberty was so excited about today there were posts!

The first from Tim Lynch:

Today is the 75th anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibition. We are, alas, living in a time when way too many people think that the way to solve problems and improve the human condition is to enact more laws. Let’s remember that repealing certain laws can actually help to create a more free and prosperous society! 

Cato is celebrating today’s anniversary with an event this afternoon entitled “Free to Booze.” 

More thoughts on Repeal Day from Radley Balko and our friends at MPP. For Cato scholarship, go here, here, and here.

The second just minutes later from Brandon Arnold:

Today is a great day in American history. Exactly 75 years ago, the 21st Amendment was ratified, thus repealing Prohibition. But Prohibition isn’t a subject that should be studied by historians alone, as this failed experiment continues to have a significant impact on our nation. 

Groups like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, a key force in the passage of Prohibition, survive to this day and continue to insist that Prohibition was a success and advocate for dry laws

Prohibition-era state laws, many of which are still on the books today, created government-protected monopolies for alcohol distributors. These laws have survived for three-quarters of a century because of powerful, rent-seeking interest groups, despite the fact that they significantly raise costs and limit consumer options. And because of these distribution laws, it is illegal for millions of Americans to have wine shipped directly to their door.

To learn more about the history and legacy of Prohibition, check out my podcast and watch the live webcast of Cato’s policy forum, “Free to Booze: the 75th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition,” starting at 3:30 today.

The fantasy life of the “Drug Czar”

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:25 pm

Predictably the current “Drug Czar” (and what a stupid term that is), John Walters wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed on today being Repeal Day (the end of prohibition of alcohol) to tout the “success” of the ongoing waste that is the war on drugs.

I guess the true lesson of Repeal Day didn’t sink into Walters thick skull.

At Reason’s Hit and Run blog Jacob Sullum rips his claims to shreds, and then rips Walters a deserved new one.

From the link:

“The good news in drug policy,” Walters writes, “is that we know what works, and that is moral seriousness.” Moral seriousness on this subject would require taking into account half a million nonviolent drug offenders behind bars, the victims of black market violence, avoidable deaths caused by the unreliable quality and unsanitary practices that prohibition fosters, the risk-premium subsidy to thugs and terrorists, the corruption of law enforcement officials, and the loss of civil liberties resulting from the drug war’s perversion of the Constitution. Walters’ claim to moral seriousness is therefore hard to take seriously. I’d settle for a little bit of intellectual seriousness from whomever Barack Obama chooses to succeed Walters, but it seems to be incompatible with the job.

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