Category Archives: Nanny State

CEI Podcast for November 7, 2013: A Prohibitive Excise Tax

unkn_beer_brand_1x

Have a listen here.

A new CEI study finds that the most expensive ingredient in beer isn’t grain, hops, or equipment: it’s taxes. Study co-author and Fellow in Consumer Policy Studies Michelle Minton has more on the problem, and how and how two bills currently before Congress might solve it.

CEI Podcast for September 5, 2013: A New Energy Drink Scare?

5-hour-energy-death
Have a listen here.

Fellow in Consumer Policy Studies Michelle Minton puts a scary new study about energy drinks and children into its proper, non-scary context. The risks that do exist are best dealt with through parental supervision, not legislation.

CEI Podcast for June 7, 2013: National Donut Day

donut
Have a listen here.

June 7 is National Donut Day. General Counsel Sam Kazman is urging Americans to eat not one but two donuts—one for themselves, and one for their liberty. Contrary to what some regulators and food activists might say, it’s ok to indulge now and then.

CEI Podcast for May 30, 2013: The Politics of Caffeine

cup-of-coffee
Have a listen here.

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced plans to investigate, and possibly regulate, caffeine consumption. Fellow in Consumer Policy Studies Michelle Minton prefers separation of food and state.

Regulation Roundup

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Regulation of the Day 230: The Temperature of Beer

beer in ice
The state of Indiana regulates the temperature at which convenience stores may sell beer. Specifically, they must sell it at room temperature. Cold beer is forbidden. The law, unique to Indiana, is presumably motivated by temperance concerns. People can’t buy beer on the spur of the moment and it drink it cold right away. They have to take it home and refrigerate it first. Instead of instant gratification, people have to plan ahead. This promotes more responsible drinking habits, the thinking goes.

Then again, the law exempts wine sales. Any Indianan who wants to can buy a chilled bottle of wine from the local 7-11 and drink it immediately. Instead of keeping people sober, the law amounts in practice to discrimination against beer. Wine producers might not mind that so much, but nearly everyone else does.

Even so, a push to overturn the law in the legislature failed earlier this year. That’s why three convenience store chains are suing to overturn the law. The case is currently moving through federal court. An employee of one chain told WISH, a local television station:

“Thorton’s has not built a convenience store in Indiana since 2006,” said David Bridgers of Thorton’s convenience stores, “for the sole reason of its antiquated alcohol laws.”

So not only does Indiana’s warm beer law fail to promote temperance, it is directly hampering job creation in the state.

The plaintiffs also argue that Indiana’s room-temperature beer law is unconstitutional, violating the equal protection clause in two ways. One, the law only applies to convenience stores. Grocery stores and other types of retailers may sell cold beer. Different retailers shouldn’t be treated differently, they argue. Two, wine should not have an artificial competitive advantage over beer. Government’s job is to ensure that they compete as equals on level ground, not to tilt that ground unequally.

Scot Imus of the IPCA, a trade association for convenience stores, told a trade publication that “We are confident that the court will agree with us that it is not the job of government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.”

Most Indianans are hoping he’s right.

CEI Podcast for February 21, 2013: The Wages of Sin Taxes

sin tax
Have a listen here.

CEI and the Adam Smith Institute have teamed up to publish a U.S. edition of Christopher Snowdon’s study “The Wages of Sin Taxes.” He argues that sin taxes are an ineffective way to treat the harmful effects of drinking, smoking, and obesity. Fellow in Consumer Policy Studies Michelle Minton wrote the foreword.