Friday, February 13, 2009

Stopping Destructive Public Policy

During my search for an article that I would be able to relate to, I came across a letter written to the editor of a newspaper in my area on my native Long Island. The letter was written in opposition to "destructive" public policy which instead of helping the public with various changes in laws and what not, is rather detrimental and hurts more than it helps. It is a letter by a disgruntled New York state resident who is in strict opposition to Governor David Paterson's proposed budget. The author states that currently there are only 2,400 licensed wine retailers in New York and with the passing of the proposed budget, any beer retailer would be permitted to also sell wine. That would increase the number of wine retailers in New York state by over 19,000 licensed retailers. Gas stations, supermarkets and corner stores would be included in the increase. The author then starts talking about how the increase in wine in such accessible locations will be dangerous to the youth by giving them more of the ability to purchase wine from locations that are not very strict. The point that the author made that really caught me and "spoke" to me was when he mentioned a website called which, as described in the URL, is a place to defend Main Street stores which are in jeopardy to lose their businesses. The business world is not in a good place right now and it is very important to preserve small family run businesses that have been providing for the owners to run their lives for however long the business has been open. This law will hurt the retailers more than it could help them. The budget should be made to maintain the small businesses and not to hurt them. Sure the gas stations would be happy with such a change because they could possibly gain business that they have never had before but the stores that specialize in wine or have been earning their income for many years from wine sales may see a decrease in their income. The state should work to help these disenfranchised individuals. An increase of nearly 10 times in wine retailers will not increase the demand for wine in New York state, it will just create a much harsher competition between the retailers for customers.

One thing that I have to disagree with though is the reference brought in by the author regarding teenage drinking. One can of beer and one glass of wine are equivalent in their alcohol content so if the places selling beer start to sell wine, that would not increase the availability in stronger alcohol. Wine is more alcoholic than beer but if the teens can get the beer, they can get the beer and the availability of wine does not mean that wine is easier for an underage teen to acquire.

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