We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
As a home brewer, I've always considered potentially increasing my output and move into the 'craft' category. However, once you do that, you have to start considering laws, both state and federal, which guide the business. Some laws are left over from Prohibition, and put undue burden on brewers, distillers, or vintners. Still others are new, and some are just crazy.
During a recent lunch, my wife and I were discussing the growth of small distilleries in New York. They are making a comeback because of a change in the law which lowers the fees necessary to be a small output distiller. This has been a job growth engine for the state, while also producing some much needed state revenue. It is a classic example of how less law can increase economic growth and opportunity.
The conversation with my wife, however, revolved around any laws which may exist (and they do, in some states) that limit production to using only agricultural products which are produced in-state. My wife had no problem with this, saying it would grow more jobs. I pointed out any state putting such limitations on distilling or brewing would hurt the economy, because if a distiller wished to use product from another state to start up, he couldn't, and since the law would force him to purchase only in-state product, prices for those products would increase dramatically as more brewers or distillers opened, becoming a prohibitive factor in new business.
I'm all for local-grown product, if that's what you like. But everybody, from consumer to brewmaster to distiller needs to have choices. If I might like a product which is made in one state, but utilizes grain from another, I may never have the opportunity to try it. Laws which limit inputs are, by definition, limiting economic growth. Which is why protectionism is always a bad idea. Limiting opportunity can only limit growth. This concept can be applied across a broad swathe of legislation which seeks to 'create' equality by creating new inequalities.
That said, it is nice to see small pockets of legislators learning "less is more" when it comes to laws and jobs. As for my bourbon, I'm still a fan of Buffalo Trace and Maker's Mark. However, I've tried Widow Jane, out of Brooklyn, and it's quite good. I also received some Hillrock as a gift and it, too, is very good, though the cinnamon aftertaste is a bit different than I've had. Still another recommended Hudson Baby Bourbon, though I haven't tried it yet.
Still looking to try my first Pappy Van Winkle, though.
Isn't preventing this kind of protectionism one of the reasons the Commerce Clause exists? I've always assumed it was in there to prevent interstate trade wars while allowing for some unity when dealing with foreign countries.
I can see where the state may be able to force you buy locally, but not necessarily 'locally grown'.
Suppose you started a distillery. You would have to go to your local grain dealer to buy the corn for your bourbon. But what if the corn from said dealer came from Ohio? There is no way to test it to see from where it originated. Even if it came from a local farmer's bin, there is no way to know whether he grew the grain or purchased it out of state.
Agreed on the legislators who realize government is a drag on business. we can only hope more learn the lesson.
Technically, the question of protectionism is open to interpretation.
If New York prohibits the sale of tobacco, it isn't specifically saying "tobacco from North Carolina" or "tobacco from Virginia". On the other hand, it is a form of protectionism. And there are varying forms of it.
Setting a law which dictates what constitutes an "Idaho potato" is a form of protectionism.
There are all kinds of nuances to protectionism which can be utilized to get around the Commerce Clause...and even US laws which are protectionist in nature.
Is Virginia tobacco better than North Carolina tobacco? No idea, I don't smoke. But I might care a little if I did smoke and couldn't buy one, the other, or both.
I do like bourbon, though. I'm partial to the Kentucky bourbons, but I've had some good NY bourbons. I'd be pissed if bourbons had legal definitions of "Kentucky Bourbon" or "NY Bourbon". Why? Some people would say "it's just a name, who cares?" I point out the rules which define the designation mean each firm making the brand then needs to be 100% sure they conform with the rules, have particular brand labeling, etc. Each of these things constitute a cost, and each cost is protectionist in nature.
It doesn't inform my choice of bourbon - it just costs me more money.
Forget Hudson Baby Bourbon. A friend from New York brought me a bottle when he came to hunt pheasant. Certainly a nice gesture, but was the worst 'bourbon' I've ever tasted. And I've tasted a lot. The 20 year old Pappy is about as good as it gets. Alas, very scarce and, naturally, expensive. I make a bottle last a year by drinking only on the 25th of each month. Evan Williams is perfect in between, but I share you affection for Buffalo Trace.
Is this regulation a product of the bureaucracy's compulsion to control 'more', no matter what it is, or is it an effort to drive up the price of grain by sending a significant percentage of our grain crop to the landfill? If this regulation applies to distillers' grains (the grain waste sold from ethanol plants) that would certainly be the case, and would make ethanol even more uncompetitive than it is now. Ethanol plants get a sizable percentage of revenue from the sale of the spent grain.
In a rational world, one would think FDA would have knowledge of a known hazard before regulating. In this case, where are all the sick and dead cows? I don't even see a hypothetical hazard here. It looks like this may be an instance of regulating for the sake of regulating.
Here in Australia, section 92 of our constitution prohibits anything that impedes the free flow of goods and services between the states and territories. If I were a brewer in Sydney I could, without penalty, use wheat grown in Western Australia.