Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Buck-A-Beer?

CBC: Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak misses the days of "buck-a-beer," ... While speaking with reporters Monday, Hudak listed off a series of everyday items — from gas to electricity to beer — he said have become more expensive under Dalton McGuinty's Liberals.

This is true. McGuinty has destroyed the Onario economy (further) but I highly doubt Hudak will do a better job. Let's see if he'll address the elephant in the room: The LCBO.

"There are many folks, and myself included, who look forward to the $24 two-four on the May 24 weekend, that is now something in the past," Hudak said.

"I do hear from people who say 'C'mon, I can't even get a buck-a-beer in the province anymore thanks to Dalton McGuinty's policies?'"

When asked, Hudak would not commit to making cheaper beer part of the Tories' platform in the provincial election set for Oct. 6.

So the issue is just about making beer cheap. Of course, the taxes on beer in this province are about 50%, but no one ever notices because the State controls the price of alcohol.

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan ended the "$24 two-four" pack in 2008 when he asked the LCBO to raise the minimum allowable price of a case of 24 beers by $1.60 to $25.60.

Obviously, Dwight Duncan is a moron.

The move came in response to lobbying by the brewing industry after some companies like Lakeport Brewing Co., began undercutting some of the major brands by pricing 24-packs of beer at $24.

I'd hate to be a brewing company in Ontario. There is nothing worse than trying to run a business and having the State interfere with your decisions.

Juergen Rehm, the director of social and epidemiological research at CAMH in Toronto, which treats addiction and mental illness, said there's a reason beer prices are higher.

"We know that if prices would actually be lowered, the death toll would increase. Of course there's tremendous costs also with the non-fatal consequences of alcohol, all the hospital costs, all the costs in criminality, etc."

Everyone bow down to the expert, he knows all and sees all. What's this bullshit about more deaths due to lower prices? Does anyone actually believe this? Alcoholics are going to buy alcohol despite its cost. Lowering the price will give them more money to spend on other things, higher prices will result in them stealing shit to support their addiction.

Most provinces have some form of minimum pricing for alcoholic beverages.

Not Quebec. They're pretty rational in how they deal with their industry. For starters, the State doesn't have a monopoly on the sale of alcohol.

The problem here isn't the Ontario government setting the price of beer, the problem is the Ontario government's crown corporation called the LCBO. Now granted, despite the high salaries of the unionized retail workers, the corporation brings in a profit. The overhead costs are offset by the high price the State charges for beer and liquor, and the extra revenue is spent on (theoretically) social services. So the problem isn't so much economical as it is moral. What right does the State have to enforce a monopoly on alcohol?

I don't advocate the privatization of the LCBO. Instead, I'd like to see the sale of alcohol freed from the State monopoly, and the issuance of liquor licences to be abolished. Only then can the price of beer be determined by market forces instead of politicians.


  1. Open up the Craft Beer retail sales to anyone who wishes to put out the money for a beer store like the US does. No minimum price on beer at all. Market forces should dictate that part. If I owned a Craft Beer store, there wouldn't be one drop of big brewery beer. Let me sell it for any price I want, not a communist state of sales like Ontario. I am surprised McGuinty doesn't visit the breweries himself to make the beer, he seems to have his big nose in there for everything else.

  2. The global recession was hard on economies around the world. Ontario worked with people when others would have cut them loose. The economy is back on track. Ontario jobs are coming back and growth is returning. See the progress report here:

  3. @grahame - the economy is not back on track. It's going to get worse. A lot worse. We are at the beginnings of a Global Depression.