I want to quick disagree with Rich Wilkins’s point here about licensing:
You hate licensing? Bad news for you, regardless of who owns the stores, licensing is part of the deal, to stay. For revenue, health, and management reasons, the state has to license a lot of stuff, and most people accept that. Leave the libertarianism at the door.
Nobody is advocating “libertarianism” as in “no alcohol regulations.” I am arguing for regulating alcohol a different way.
The thing that everybody is trying to do is stave off a collapse in prices. We don’t want a collapse in prices because everybody knows that when prices decline, consumption goes up.
The current regulations try to do this by limiting competition – limiting the number of places that can sell alcohol, to prevent competition from driving the prices down. This is basically a handout to the owners of the stores.
My point is that, instead of creating a licensing cartel, you can just directly regulate the prices.
You can do this with a relatively high gallonage tax (capturing the regulatory surplus for the taxpayers) or by setting a minimum price for booze (letting store owners capture the regulatory surplus.)
Either way we’re regulating. The question is who is capturing the surplus from the artificially high booze prices? I say the taxpayers should get it, not the cartels.