Apr 152008

I’ve said it before and I’ll surely have to say it again – People go into government for one reason: to reward their friends and simultaneously punish their enemies. The latest example comes to us from Minneapolis-St. Paul, soon to be host to the Republican National Convention-
Republican National Convention

Bar and restaurant hours during the Republican National Convention might be able to stretch into the wee hours of the morning after all, with new legislation that some prior naysayers are tentatively embracing.A proposal for allowing bars to remain open until 4 a.m. around the time of the convention passed unanimously Tuesday through the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

The action follows the failure of two previous proposals — including one by Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, which was removed from a budget bill Thursday.

In contrast, the new bill allows bars within the seven-county metro area — including the border cities of Northfield and New Prague — to stay open later from the evening of Sunday, Aug. 31, through the early morning of Friday, Sept. 5. That’s five nights, rather than 11 — and no Friday or Saturday.

Cities would be able to decide whether to allow it. They also could decide what geographic areas or license and zoning classifications would be affected.

And they’d be able to charge bars a fee of up to $2,500.

“The ultimate in local control,” said sponsor Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, describing his proposal, which was tacked onto an omnibus House liquor bill following input from St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Of course, government should have no place in setting the hours for any private business, but that clearly hasn’t stopped them in the past. We’ve always been told that the limitation on when alcohol may be served were put in place for our own protection. So, are they now saying that we don’t need to be as protected during the RNC convention? Or are they simply rewarding their fellow politicians and financial supporters?

Additionally, the $2,500 fee is rather telling. Obviously the big nightclubs (backed by large corporations or big fish in the small local pond of businessmen) are going to be able to turn a huge profit even after paying this extortionately high fee to their government overlords. But do you think the local “Joe’s Bar” with a single bartender and seating for 50 people will be able to afford it? Not bloody likely.

Finally, you’ve just got to love the quote by Republican Representative Zeller: “The ultimate in local control.” You see, that’s all that government is really about: control. They restrict business hours not because it’s good for business or for the community, but because they want to control others and extort as much money from them as possible. When the laws they pass to control the “common man” get in the way of their friends those laws are either ignored, overturned, or relaxed.

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