The ‘Bama Booze Business and The Law of Concentrated Benefit and Distributed Cost

Alabama’s state owned and operated retail liquor stores serve the sole purpose of transforming the wealth of Alabama taxpayers (about 4 million or so) into pay, benefits, and rents for a small group of state employers (about 600) and lease holders (no more than 176). The ongoing clamor over the proposal to close these stores illustrates the  Law of Concentrated Benefit and Distributed Cost.

In this case we have a large benefit paid to a few paid at a small cost to many. The small group benefits from a narrow public policy and fights hard to preserve the benefit while the broader group which pays for the benefit does not fight because they find it not worth the effort to oppose it. This is one reason why special interest groups can be so powerful and why they can be successful in pushing policy that is harmful and unaffordable to the citizens of the state. The Alabama Education Association is another example of this principle in action.

Alabama has a mix of state and private liquor stores, about 176 and 550 respectively, with the state stores doing about 75 percent of the business. Taxes are the same on the booze sold in both types of stores and those taxes all go to the Alabama treasury. Private stores also pay other taxes, e.g., real estate and income taxes. And the private stores must buy the booze they sell from the state, but that calculus is not considered here.

The state stores have also annually distributed to the treasury excess revenue ranging from $303 thousand to almost $13 million in the years 2008 through 2013. The net benefit of the state stores is small and variable. And that benefit is also overstated because state accounting does not consider future payments that will have to be made to retired state employees because, like most states,  the Alabama retirement system is underfunded.

The Alabama is considering SB115, a bill which would close the state liquor stores and make the retail booze business completely private. The Legislative Fiscal Office has opined that this would increase state tax revenue by $16 to 25 million per year beyond the status quo described above. In a state facing a large budget deficit and the prospect  of large tax increases, getting ‘Bama out of the booze business makes lots of sense to most people. So why the clamor over such a sensible bill?

The clamor is explained by the Law of Concentrated Benefit and Distributed Cost. The small group getting benefits from working in or leasing stores is working hard to keep their benefits. That is as understandable as it is unaffordable – unless you want to pay more taxes.

Even though they provide no benefit and serve no essential services for the taxpayers, the rent seekers and employees have lots to lose. They and their lobbyists have gotten to four Republican senators (pictured below) on the committee working SB115 and convinced them to block the bill and keep their gravy train going. In stopping the bill in committee, those senators have now bought the goodwill and votes of the special interest with taxpayer money.

But the special interests and their swineherds are not the only ones who can make noise. Now would be a good time for conservatives to speak up against cronyism and for limited government.

abc GANG OF FOUR_2

Email: clyde.chambliss@alsenate.gov, steve.livingston@alsenate.gov, jabo.waggoner@alsenate.gov, camjulward@aol.com

References:

SB115fiscal noteCameron Smith op/edal.com articleYellowhammer article,ABC web pageABC annual report, Senator Slade Blackwell op/ed

Another embarrassing “gender gap” story destroyed in Google searches…

A press release that looks like a news story…

We hear it often: debunked state over and over again…

Women earn 77% of what mean make!

It’s been debunked since… forever.

A TV spot from the president’s reelection committee says women are “paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.” That’s not true. The ad falsely states that the pay gap is for doing “the same work.” It also implies that discrimination by employers is responsible for the difference. That’s an exaggeration..

[…]

But that’s the median (midpoint) for all women in all jobs, not for women doing “the same work” or even necessarily working the same number of hours. Furthermore, the raw gap for all women is not quite as large when looking at weekly earnings rather than yearly earnings.

AL.com wants in on the silliness

What does Alabama’s wage gap look like?

$32,451: the average annual income for an Alabama woman holding down a full-time job

$42,913: the average annual income for an Alabama man holding down a full-time job

284,000: the number of Alabama family households headed by women

$6.6 billion: the amount of money Alabama women would earn in addition to current earnings if they were paid the same as men

The National Partnership for Women & Families released a report today that compiled its analysis of U.S. Census data.

“At a time when women’s wages are essential to our families and our economy, the persistence of the gender-based wage gap is doing real and lasting damage to women, families, communities and to our nation,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, in a statement. “This analysis shows that women and families are losing thousands of dollars in critical income each year that could pay for significant amounts of food, rent, gas and other basic necessities.”

If Alabama women earned as much as men, what more could they afford?

2 more years of food

10 more months of utilities and mortgage payments

15 more months of rent

3,300+ gallons of gas

Here is one of the reasons why:

University of Alabama College of Engineering

[…]

GENDER (Undergraduate Only)

  • Male – 78 percent
  • Female – 22 percent

Total enrollment:

  • 55% are women

Boring!

Women are getting screwed when it comes to pay!*

*statement not accurate

A pretty good take down of Hillary Clinton’s biography…

She’s running… I say good.

2 people stand outside Congressman Mo Brooks’ office in silly hats, don’t worry AL.com is there…

Does it?

A campaign that lobbied congressmen in 15 states on Wednesday included a stop at the downtown Huntsville office of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks.

Pam Miles of Madison and Sharon Tounzen of Athens said they were seeking support for the “Robin Hood Bill” from Brooks, R-Huntsville.

More accurately, 2 people went to Brooks’ office and talked to a reporter.

Why so small?

The vigils across the country lobbied both Republican and Democratic congressmen, according to robinhoodtax.org.

Miles wore a Robin Hood hat as she spoke. She said Brooks is the only member of Congress to be lobbied Wednesday because of last-minute organization.

Which, of course, is a lie…

From: “Pam Miles” < pammiles@bellsouth.net>
Date: April 3, 2015 at 16:28:40 CDT
To: “Pam Miles” < pammiles@bellsouth.net>
Subject:Robin Hood Tax – April 8 Day of Action!
Reply-To: < PamMiles@bellsouth.net>

APRIL 8TH DAY OF ACTION

April 2015 will mark 47 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered while conducting a national campaign against economic inequality. In the nearly half a century that has passed, the gap between the top 1% wealthiest and the rest of Americans has only widened.

On April 8th, supporters of the Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street – a real cure to the illness of rampant economic inequality – will hold vigils at congressional offices across the country to demand that congress pass the Inclusive Prosperity Act.  Similar events were held last year and were very successful in moving members of congress to support the Robin Hood Tax.

Click here for a list of events already planned, as well as downloadable flyers: http://www.robinhoodtax.org/april-8th-day-action.

Sign up here AL-District 5http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/6405/c/10113/p/salsa/event/common/public/index.sjs?event_KEY=424851

Please let me know if you can participate. I’ll have all of the materials you need at the AL-5 Congressional office on Wednesday, April 8th at 11:30am.

The Inclusive Prosperity Act, the bill sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison D-MN contains a tiny tax on Wall Street’s speculative trades, which would raise up to $300 billion dollars a year to fund permanent living wage jobs rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, ending student debt, creating a green energy manufacturing boom, providing quality education for all of our children, greatly expanding mass transit, guaranteed healthcare for all and in serving many other human and environmental needs. The Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street would also provide Americans with retirement and housing security.

All of that would go a long way toward healing our nation’s obscene wealth and income inequality while honoring the struggle that Dr. King gave his life for.

Hope to see you there on April 8th.

Pam Miles, AL-5 Coordinator

Remember, next time you talk about politics in the aisle at Wal-Mart with your neighbor, contact AL.com, they might want to cover it.

I can’t wait till the Internet goes after these businesses that refused service because of their positions on gay marriage….

We all know the Memories Pizza saga….

One group of morons reacted to an erroneous news piece by attacking a small pizza shop

So a hypothetical situation that has never occurred was enough for Marino to do a remote outside the business on the ABC 57 nightly newscast and make citizens who’ve never been accused of harming anyone the top story of the night.

The story went viral, as it obviously would, and Memories Pizza is now closed and the O’Connor family is receiving death threats. Crystal O’Connor told Marino, “We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything.” She was right on the first part, her and her family are learning, thanks to “journalists” like Alyssa Marino and Brian Dorman, that she was woefully wrong on the second part.

America responds by giving the pizzeria $400,000+

But what about these hatemongers?

And these…

Does anyone believe these gay bakeries or this Muslim bakery should be forced to make these cakes?

Again, these aren’t hypotheticals, this actually happened.

Go get em, Internet!

PAYDAY LENDERS ARE BUYING YOUR LEGISLATURE!

Wait till you see how much money they gave!

All together, lenders gave more than $475,000 to lawmakers during the last election season.

Seems like a lot, sure but let’s just put it in to some perspective. The AEA pumped millions in to the last election cycle.

By February of 2014, A -Vote had given $50,000 to each of these candidates:

Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham
Sen. Tammy Irons, D-Florence
Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville
Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden
Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton
Rep. Todd Greeson, R-Ider.

That was in February and they gave those 6 folks a total of $300,000. In the following 9 months they dumped millions more to many other candidates but I am sure that had no strings attached.

What is the difference?

Glad no one asked, the AEA wanted these legislators to give them government money, they regularly deliver and obstruct on the AEA’s behalf.

When charter schools were being debated did you see a single story about how the AEA had bought legislators?

No.

Again…

The AEA wants government money directly given to them by the state and they have spent 10s of million of dollars to make that happen and no one seems concerned.

Payday  lenders want the legislature to leave them alone and allow them to function within the law with out attempting to put them out of business, they have given legislators a fraction of what the AEA but they are monsters.

Whitmire wraps up with this

Because, in the end, the money those lawmakers received didn’t have an interest rate and it was theirs to keep. But don’t think for a moment it was free.

Final note: It might be time to move Kyle Whitmire to a beat that is more appropriate for his skills (I am not sure being a disingenuous douche is a skill) because this whole politics thing isn’t working for him.

This is what a traitor looks like…

Bowe Bergdahl?

Some members of Bergdahl’s platoon have criticized him, labeling Bergdahl a deserter.

“I was pissed off then, and I am even more so now with everything going on,” former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009, told CNN last year. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

Bergdahl was freed in May when President Barack Obama agreed to swap five Taliban prisoners who had been detained in Guantanamo Bay to secure Bergdahl’s freedom, sending those detainees to Qatar.

OR… 47 Senators sending an open-letter to Iran?

A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran’s leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama’s administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.

Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber’s entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process.

Here is the New York Daily News on those 47 Senators…

Here is the New York Times on Berghdahl…    Now do we understand how absurd all that “traitor” talk was about the letter to Iran?

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