Fans of documentary-maker Ken Burns (“The Civil War,” “Baseball”) are already looking forward to his newest work, “Prohibition,” scheduled for release Oct. 2. Alas, though prohibition was repealed nearly 80 years ago, Michigan still suffers a hangover in the form of a sour regulatory mash that drinks in too many consumer dollars for too little return.
As viewers enjoy the new Burns documentary, they may want to brush up on Prohibition’s legacy in the Great Lake State with some useful Mackinac Center publications on the subject.
Burns fans might also find interesting a Mackinac Center narrative that compares the similar unintended consequences of alcohol Prohibition in the Roaring Twenties with those of excessively high cigarette taxes today.
Below is a complete inventory of Mackinac Center resources on the pesky regulatory overkill that still burdens Michigan consumers.
Feb. 4, 2015: A blog post about the Office of Regulatory Reinvention seeking input on beer and wine wholesalers' activities.
Jan. 22, 2015: A blog post and press release about a lawsuit filed by the Mackinac Center against the Michigan Liquor Control Commission over illegal FOIA fees.
June 19, 2014: A blog post and press release asking the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to rescind “post and hold” rules.
Oct. 6: A crosspost on The MC blog from wine critic Tom Wark on the book "Toward Liquor Control."
Sept. 29: Current Comment titled "Present Day Prohibition" outlines the regulatory scheme enacted to “safely reintroduce” alcohol into society following Prohibition’s repeal and how it has grown into a labyrinth of state-based rules, resulting in a number of negative consequences — many similar to those of Prohibition.
Aug. 18: A short retrospective highlighting an outstanding series on Michigan’s beer and wine wholesalers written by Jennifer Dixon of the Detroit Free Press in 2005. The Mackinac Center was granted permission to post each article on our website. Links to the entire series are posted directly below.
Aug. 17: “State Regulations Suffocate Hospitality Industry” is a blog post detailing legislation introduced to remove a prohibition in state law that stops craft brewers from meeting to share their brews at licensed brewpubs and microbreweries.
Aug. 9: The announcement that the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs had decided on which 21 Michigan residents would comprise the new Liquor Control Advisory Rules Committee resulted in a blog post detailing new and old questions for the committee to ask themselves.
July 20: Beer and wine wholesalers (and their association) in Michigan have won for themselves an extraordinarily privileged position in the Great Lake State. They and their sister organizations have been working to protect that privileged position with a change in federal law. We detail their efforts to pass the federal CARE Act here.
June 30: “Time to Kill Michigan’s Alcohol Monopoly” is another essay about the extraordinary influence that beer and wine wholesalers wield in state capitols (and perhaps in Congress, too). It is written by Mackinac Center guest writer and alcohol regulation expert Michelle Minton. Minton is Director of the Insurance Studies project with the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
May 5, 2009: “The Grapes of Wrath” illustrates how a [then] new law helped protect wholesalers in the face of possible additional competition due to a court decision that would effectively permit out-of-state shipments of wine directly to consumers.
March 9, 2001: “Make a Toast to Privatization” examined the opportunity to buy wine over the Internet and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s attempt to enforce a prohibition against out-of-state wine shipments.
June 1, 1997: The first of our work on Michigan’s system of liquor control focused on how the state had thrown away a perfectly good opportunity to fully privatize liquor wholesaling.
Michael D. LaFaive is director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the Center are properly cited.
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