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PostPosted: 20 Jun 2016, 07:10 
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Joined: 24 Dec 2009, 15:09
Posts: 3735
Location: Eastern S. Dakota
Politicians at all scales think they must “do something” about various societal issues when they meet. That is part of the legislative mandate culture. They are very good at debating and devising laws (at the national level most of the details of proposed new laws are thought up by special interest groups and legislative staff) but how often do they go back and reevaluate whether a law has been effective or not? Case in point, there was a big push several decades ago to tighten up underage (21 is the correct age according to the federal gov for a person to be able to drink alcohol) drinking because of needless deaths in drunken driving accidents. OK, I’m all for less young people getting killed in stupid alcohol-related accidents although young people, alcohol, and driving have been going on since the car was invented. Were such deaths more common in the mid to late 1980s than say in the 1950s? I don’t know if such data was bought into the debate, but age requirements got cracked down and the feds told every state they must raise their drinking age to 21 or you’ll be without your fed highway fund money. For state such as SD that had 18, then 19-age drinking of 3.2% beer, that was a big thing because we need that Uncle Sugar highway money. So we raised our drinking age (as did every other state who had less than 21 years of age). Great, problem solved right, and no other laws need to be passed? Well, not exactly.

South Dakota legislators decided that at least another law had to be passed, that no one under the age of 21 could sell alcohol to anyone in a store even if the customer was fully of age. There was probably some idea that a kid would sell to his or her buddies. I don’t know if any actual data was presented to show this was a problem but hey, it sounded good. And in this conservative state, once a law is passed its dam hard to get it repealed unless a lot of people truly get pi***d off about it. So, an underage clerk can pull/push alcoholic beverages to the scan window but they can’t have their register access code actually ring it up or the store can get in trouble. So the check-out process stops at this point.

This brings me up to the reason I’m writing this. I stopped at Wally World Sat. morn for ONE thing, a particular non-alcoholic item that I like their brand and price. WM was on my way between stops so no big deal. I grabbed my item and got up to the checkout area and there was a register with 1 customer and a younger gal. I got in line behind the 1 customer and we waited because this lady was buying a case of cheap beer for her husband and the clerk was under 21. We had to wait for the legal age floor manager to come around and put his/her code in and scan the beer. But this did not happen very fast because there were 2 other lines down because of the same issue.

Now let’s refresh what the problem is that society is trying to solve: Underage store clerks selling alcohol to underage kids so they can drink and drive and do other stupid stuff. What’s the result? Multiple above legal age customers, both those buying alcoholic beverages and those just waiting in line, at Wally World losing time from their day so that the letter of a law is fulfilled. Any underage drinking stopped? No, but a cumulative hour lost by a dozen people waiting for an extra 5 minutes as the situation was resolved. Now WM could have a special aisle manned by a legal age person just for people buying alcohol but that one would probably stack up as well. So if people want the convenience of buying alcohol at a grocery/general purpose store, you’ll just have to be possibly inconvenienced going through the check-out line.

A good liberal would say it’s your duty for the greater cause to lose that extra 5 minutes of time than have 1 kid killed by getting alcohol too easily. OK, but where does the line get drawn, 10 extra minutes in line, 15, every customer inconvenienced? How do we gauge if a law is effective or not, one bad outcome avoided in a 100 cases, 1000, 100,000, a million?? Politicians tend to scale terribly. My example is actually a pretty trivial inconvenience but politicians and the people should think hard before passing laws, any law, because the enactment of laws effect everybody, not just the situation that society is trying to solve. Instead of boasting of how many new laws a politician (at all scales) got passed, they should be just as prideful of how many laws were reviewed and modified or repealed because of the consequences of how they are executed. Funny how we seldom hear a politician saying that…

_________________
"And God said, Let us make man in our image …and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, …the fowl of the air…and all the creatures that move along the ground.
Genesis 1:26


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