Beer and the sequester

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By and large, we Americans are spoiled. We want what we want when we want it. We don’t like ever being told we have to wait for what we want. In fact, we believe there’s a Constitutional right to us having whatever it is we want whenever it is we want it.

When we’re inconvenienced, because something that we’ve always taken for granted is either in short supply or slow in coming, then comes the outcry. Example: In the summer of 2011 Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature reached an impasse in budget negotiations, and the state government shut down.  State parks closed, highway projects stopped, social services for the elderly and school kids were unfunded, and only those functions deemed “essential” by a Special Master and a judge continued.

One week passed, and there appeared to be no end in sight.  Some began predicting a protracted battle through the fall and even until January 2012.

And then the beer almost stopped flowing.

Brewery giant MillerCoors faced having to pull all 39 of its brands off Minnesota shelves for lack of a renewal of its brand label license, required every three years.  Apparently, MillerCoors submitted its renewal application with a check that was larger than required.  Rather than simply refund the difference like any normal business would, the Department of Public Safety instead returned the check and put the application on hold until they received a new one.  MillerCoors promptly sent the right check, but the department didn’t process the paperwork prior to the shutdown, so the license never got issued.  (Add to the mix that Anheuser Busch had its license renewal due up in the fall.)

When news broke that Minnesotans stood to lose Miller Lite and Coors Light, the heat ratcheted up to get a budget done: more so than the loss of access to the state parks or any type of social services.  And suddenly the Governor and the Legislature struck a deal that wasn’t much different than the one on the table before the shutdown.

To quote Homer Simpson: “Beer. The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

When we’re inconvenienced, even mildly, then comes the outcry. And this time it’s more serious than a beer shortage. This time the blame will be laid squarely at the feet of the Republicans, where it should be. They are the ones who came up with this genius sequester idea. Digging a hole for someone else to fall in.

Overwhelmingly, Americans want the rich to be taxed more. But the “American people” that the GOP talks about are their wealthy 1% donors. This very vocal minority of people are complicit in their own downfall. They’ll be inconvenienced too, right alongside the rest of us. Beware of the hole you dig for others, lest you fall into it yourself.

(Thanx and a hat tip to Semper Eadem and Jeffrey O’Brien.)

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