A scary headline yesterday. The Scottish government want to enforce minimum pricing on alcohol.
There is a good chance that Scotland will become independent from the rest of the UK. if there is anything that will scare the Scottish into staying with England is the threat that the politicians that will have control of the new country will be passing oppressive laws like this.
But on a more serious note there are numerous consequences to a law like this which will do nothing for the economy of Scotland.
The reason being given for the minimum pricing of alcohol is that it costs the Scottish government a fortune in health care costs.
In a normal world a business which has an activity that costs it a fortune stops providing that service. It does not compel its customers to buy at an inflated price with the use of a gun and nor should it.
But the Scottish government is not normal, quite the opposite. Instead of declining to cover the health care costs of the people it claims is costing it a fortune and giving them their money back, the Scottish government wants to keep the problem customers and force everyone else to chip in to cover the extra costs.
Welcome to the socialist nightmare in Scotland’s future. Where no one has to take responsibility for their actions and where everyone has to contribute to pay for the mistakes of their neighbours.
No wonder Alex Salmon wants to keep the pound.
These are also unintended consequences and these will revolve around the huge black market that will inevitably spring up.
Whenever a price of a commodity is artificially raised above what the market would normally set enormous opportunities are created for those who can supply at the true market rate.
This leads to smuggling, home brewing, street dealers, police raids, violence, implied or actual carried out by the state and suppliers, reduced tax revenues, businesses closing, increased drug use, bigger prison population, more people with criminal records, more unemployment, more petty crime. The list goes on an on.
Is this solution honestly cheaper than to stop providing health cover to problem “customers” and give them their money back?