Enemies of Freedom

In Queens, a borough of New York City, small liquor retailers are mounting an offensive against Total Wine & More, an alcoholic beverage superstore. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is against the superstore.

Competition is bad, freedom is bad, and free markets are bad, according to this proponent of socialism, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. Better, according to her, is for government power to maintain in operation small, high-priced and inefficient retailers with limited selection of beverages. She favors forming and supporting a loose cartel of small retailers that prevents free entry of large retailers.

Ocasio-Cortez wants a combination in restraint of trade that’s government-created and government-supported. She wants cartels. She shares this position with Italian fascism of the 1930s. (See, for example, “The Development of Italian Cartels Under Fascism”, by Fausto R. Pitigliani, Journal of Political Economy, June 1940, pp. 375-400.) The New Deal also sought to cartelize the American economy.

Ocasio-Cortez is an enemy of freedom. She has allies. New York State law is one such enemy. “New York state law prohibits giant liquor store chains from applying for a state license to operate alcohol branches here, which helps protect neighborhood merchants. But it does allow entrepreneurs affiliated with national firms to apply for a sole license for an individual store under a different corporate name.”

If Total Wine & More has itself found advantage through government subsidies, remove them; but its enemies have not charged the company with that. Ocasio-Cortez complains instead about the company’s efficiency:

“I am deeply concerned about the potential impacts that MCT Fine Wine & Spirits would have on the local small business community. As a large retailer with ties to a billion dollar nationwide chain, Total Wines has access to resources and economies of scale with which smaller retailers could not compete.

“Total Wines has a history of loss leader pricing — selling alcohol at or below cost in order to sell high-end products at a generous margin. Our small businesses would not be able to compete with such practices and it would be devastating to the largely immigrant community that is currently employed at many of these stores.”

None of these charges or criticisms justifies abrogating the freedom of this company to set up a store in Queens.

The time is long overdue when we get rid of all such laws inspired by anti-freedom philosophies like fascism, socialism and the New Deal. For a discussion of earlier anti-trust laws and laws like the Robinson-Patman Act, see here.

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8:57 am on September 21, 2019

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