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Big Blue Machine

Sell the LCBO now.

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And if corner store owners were to jack up the wages of their employees to a level sufficient to satisfy your ideals they'd all go out of business. No longer paying taxes. To keep your socialist pet projects afloat.

I have to wonder if your boss isn't paying you too well... Because if they dropped your wage to the minimum, then your boss would surely drop the price of his goods to everyone, sales would go up, and he could hire a few more minimum wage workers... Would you like that to happen to your job... I think not... I'm a big believer in "do unto others". Otherwise, if you don't want the same thing to happen to you, then you are risking a position of hypocracy.....

Do you really think that removing the LCBO in favour of corner store liquor sales is going to provide a huge drop in the price of alcohol, or that the province is going to reap the same kind of income on such a system.??? I think that corner store owners will make more money, but prices won't come down.... Many people employed at the LCBO would lose their "good jobs", and the people who were paid a pittance to work at the corner store.... well, they'll still be paid a pittance.

What's more, is that the selection of alcohol will be decimated, as small stores will not have the huge purchasing power that the LCBO has... ( The LCBO is the largest single purchaser of wine in the world).

So, lets tally up the benefits....

Loss of job good jobs (whose tax deduction is at least half of the corner store employee's wages).

Less provincial income (requiring an income tax hike)

Less selection of product,

Essentially no reduction in price (as small stores don't have the purchasing power to get the prices that our giant purchaser has)

If I were to put all these together, and include your point, quoted at the top, it seems that privatization of the LCBO would be a very foolish thing to do....

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If the government owning the LCBO is such a good idea, why not extend it to automobile dealerships, food stores, hell why not the entire retail industry?

I'd like err to answer this question that Renegade originally asked.

If he believes that the State should extend its control over other industries, perhaps all industries, I would like to know how he believes this can work in Canada when it has failed everywhere else: the USSR, Cuba, China, North Korea, et al.

If he believes it should not, and the LCBO should remain apart, I ask on what grounds he is advocating that the LCBO employees should have a parasitic existence at the expense of the rest of the country.

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err Let's use Alberta as a real life example to examine your prediction of the effects, as it has a close analogy with Ontario.

The source is from the link I posed earlier.

What's more, is that the selection of alcohol will be decimated, as small stores will not have the huge purchasing power that the LCBO has...

"It would be expected that the competition effect resulting from privatization should lead to a wider variety of products being offered for sale as stores compete with each other for customers. In 1993 there were roughly 3,300 liquor products sold in Alberta. The number of alcoholic products available in the province has consistently increased, reaching 11,108 in January 2004. Thus, privatization has produced the expected outcome."

So your prediction is clearly wrong on this one.

Loss of job good jobs

"The employees in the ALCB were members of the Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE). The average wage of an ALCB liquor store clerk in 1993 was $14.32. Under privatization liquor stores are no longer unionized. A survey of private liquor store clerk wages in 1996 found the average wage to be $7.19. As a result of lower wages and more stores employment is higher in the privatized market with roughly 4200 employees in 1996, about triple the retail store operations employment level of approximately 1400 just prior to privatization."

So you are half-right on this. Yes the jobs which are overpaid (at least by market reference) would dissappear, as everyone on this thread acknowledges, but guess what, the number of jobs has greatly increased. Would you acknowledge this as a benefit?

Less provincial income (requiring an income tax hike)

"Under privatization the mark-up rate was to be revenue neutral for the provincial government. In fiscal year 1993-94, the ALCB remitted $454.5 million to the provincial treasury. In fiscal year 2001-02, the AGLC contributed $489 million in net liquor revenue to the province. Hence, the privatization of liquor retailing need nor result in the province experiencing a loss in revenue."

Not really much of a case for you to prove that there will be less provincial income, is it?

Essentially no reduction in price (as small stores don't have the purchasing power to get the prices that our giant purchaser has)

"Real wholesale and retail liquor prices have remained relatively stable since privatization. From October 1993 to January 1996 the average real retail price of alcohol products in Alberta increased by 4.19 percent. From January 1996 to December 1997 the average real retail price fell by 2.38 percent.192 Retail prices were, on average, unchanged between December 1997 and December 1998. Between December 1998 and December 2000, the average real retail price declined by 2.9 percent. It has been noted that price decreases have been mitigated by the double mark-up occurring post-privatization; both the private retailer and the AGLC now mark-up prices while under state ownership only the ALCB marked-up prices. However, it should be noted that competition between private retailers constrains their ability to mark-up prices."

You are correct on this one. But in a private competitive environment price increases are constrained by competitve forces, unlike a LCBO monopoly which is free to set prices at will. So the effect on prices is at worst neutral.

So as I see it the only argument I see for keeping the LCBO as a publicly-owned monopoly is to protect the overpaid jobs of LCBO employees.

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Good point!! I think most of the readers of this forum will relate to how someone making $17/hour is really like the NHL players.... making a million dollars per year... Really good point

It doesn't really matter someone makes $17/hour or if someone makes a million dollars per year. They should be aware when theyve never had it so good, and by pressing for more they risk losing what they have.

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I was all geared up to respond, but then Renegade did such a bang up job that I lost all my urine and vinegar. (BHS - doing his part to reduce vulgarity in the forum since 2005!!)

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I have to wonder if your boss isn't paying you too well... Because if they dropped your wage to the minimum, then your boss would surely drop the price of his goods to everyone, sales would go up, and he could hire a few more minimum wage workers...  Would you like that to happen to your job... I think not...  I'm a big believer in "do unto others".  Otherwise, if you don't want the same thing to happen to you, then you are risking a position of hypocracy.....

If his job wasn't one that could be done by any of the 30,000,000 people living in Canada, then it would be practically impossible for the employer to find people to work in that job for those wages. You see, you don't HAVE to work for your current employer. You (and everyone else who can work) have the freedom to choose which employers you want to work for by either staying with them or quitting.

So, although it wasn't directed towards me. If my employer dropped my wages to minimum so they could sell products cheaper, I'd quit. The negative impact a minimum wage unknowledgeable workforce would have on his company would surely cause him to 'lose his shirt'.

Wages are not some arbitrary thing to be tampered with by government influence. There is a market of labour that will dictate the prices of labour that these companies are buying.

Do you really think that removing the LCBO in favour of corner store liquor sales is going to provide a huge drop in the price of alcohol, or that the province is going to reap the same kind of income on such a system.???  I think that corner store owners will make more money, but prices won't come down....  Many people employed at the LCBO would lose their "good jobs", and the people who were paid a pittance to work at the corner store.... well, they'll still be paid a pittance.
Private companies will compete for business, that's how a free market works. When Joe's convenience is selling a case of Blue for $24 and Mike's convenience is still selling it for $36, where do you think people will buy their beer?

The government will still tax the sales of alcohol and if anything is going to influence the price it will be those taxes. If corner stores have to buy a case of beer for $32, chances are most of them will sell it or around $36 (as the price is now) and the government will make their cut on the wholesale and again at the register.

This is the problem with gasoline. The taxes the government throws onto it allows the huge chains to sell it at or very close to cost since they have so many stations operating under them. Independants can't possibly sell it lower because they'll be paying more for the gas then they're selling it for. Government influence once again ruins the market values.

What's more, is that the selection of alcohol will be decimated, as small stores will not have the huge purchasing power that the LCBO has... ( The LCBO is the largest single purchaser of wine in the world).
You want a selection of alcohol, you'll go to a specific wine store that has a huge selection; furthermore, anything that you want that you can't get now can be special ordered for you. This is something that can't be done now in the beer stores. There's a beer I like that's distributed in the United States from a small brewery in California, but I can't get it here With the amount of small stores carrying beer, one of them may take a chance and order it in if their niche is to have a bigger selection than other stores.
So, lets tally up the benefits....

Loss of job good jobs (whose tax deduction is at least half of the corner store employee's wages).

Inflated wages that we're paying for either directly out of our pockets or from reduced profits in the LCBO chains that could be going to other provincially funded programs.

Less provincial income (requiring an income tax hike)

I don't understand where you get this. The provincial government will still be making the taxes off the sale of liquor and beer. In fact with the added selection a competitive market will give us, they may even make more taxes on it. Arguing that there's less provincial income if they privatize the sale of liquor and beer is like arguing for government run tobacco shops.

On top of the taxes they'll continue to make on alcohol, they won't have the overhead of a workforce with inflated wages, or the cost of running these stores (paying utilities, leases, building maintenance, etc.)

So the government will be saving a whole ton of money, yet still making the money off the taxes on alcohol.

Less selection of product,

Wrong. You'll have more stores carrying product and making their own choice of which products to carry. Someone will open a niche store that carries just beers from around the world or wine from around the world, so they can be competitive in a market where everyone is selling the name brands.

Essentially no reduction in price (as small stores don't have the purchasing power to get the prices that our giant purchaser has)

Our price is way higher than the price of wine and beer in the United States. The reason? Higher tax on alcohol. The price won't go down if the government taxes alcohol to the point of it not being profitable for stores to sell it for less.

A competitive market will reduce prices to compete for business, so once again, I have no idea where you get this idea.

If I were to put all these together, and include your point, quoted at the top, it seems that privatization of the LCBO would be a very foolish thing to do....

It would be a very foolish thing to do if you completely disagree with a free market.

Let me ask you Renegade's question again: "If the government owning the LCBO is such a good idea, why not extend it to automobile dealerships, food stores, hell why not the entire retail industry?"

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Perhaps the government can take all $530,548,000,000 in tax revenue and distribute it amongst the 30,000,000 Canadians. We could all take home a $17,684.93 check every year.

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If he believes that the State should extend its control over other industries, perhaps all industries, I would like to know how he believes this can work in Canada when it has failed everywhere else: the USSR, Cuba, China, North Korea, et al.

If he believes it should not, and the LCBO should remain apart, I ask on what grounds he is advocating that the LCBO employees should have a parasitic existence at the expense of the rest of the country.

(Side points)

USSR - Bankrupted by cold war with United States.

CUBA - Economically choked by ongoing illegal US embargo

A parasitic existance.... you guys really seem to have it out for anyone who is paid enough to survive.... $34K/year... you begrudge that income... and call them parasites... (It only makes me wonder how much money you guys make, and following this, how come you don't have a job that pays a huge take-home pay of about $2000/month... not enough for a mortgage on a shack if you have to buy diapers an pay to run an automobile)...... perhaps a reflection on your mean-spirited conservative attitudes, or perhaps jealousy)

I think it is a good thing that the government doesn't embrace slave labour (minimum wage labour), and that the government's wage reflects the cost of living... not how badly you can get away with paying someone...

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Perhaps the government can take all $530,548,000,000 in tax revenue and distribute it amongst the 30,000,000 Canadians.  We could all take home a $17,684.93 check every year.

Wow.... but wouln't they have to pay for stamps to send the cheque... which goes to show that you aren't completely thinking it through.... (sarcasm, in case you couldn't tell)

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Essentially no reduction in price (as small stores don't have the purchasing power to get the prices that our giant purchaser has)

Our price is way higher than the price of wine and beer in the United States. The reason? Higher tax on alcohol. The price won't go down if the government taxes alcohol to the point of it not being profitable for stores to sell it for less.

Maybe we could cancel our public health insurance so that we could be as good as the United States.... Maybe we should let millions of people live in abject poverty, then we can get beer for $0.50 cheaper... Wouldn't that make us a better country.... like the USA.

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Well, I suppose this debate is over since err had a complete meltdown and is jumping to conclusions and making all kinds of absurd claims.

No one is suggesting everyone make minimum wage. Actually, I suggested that a labour market will regulate itself. Not many qualified people will work for minimum wage and it's damn near impossible to have knowledgeable and qualified people working for you if that's all you're going to pay them.

Are you going to apply for a minimum wage job that requires you to have certain skills and abilities that are hard to find? Of course not and neither is anyone else.

It's nothing against the employees for making those wages, it's just not what they're worth. Now if they had a professional sommelier on staff at all times, that person would obviously make more money because he/she would have skills that are hard to come across. At least harder to come across than people who can move boxes and punch keys on a register.

If minimum wage is not enough for those people, than they need to find better jobs or work at getting better skills by getting or furthering their education. You have choices as an employee. No one is forced to make minimum wage.

I'm not suggesting the United States is a better country (that came out of nowhere, you seem to be having some sort of inferiority complex), I was simply explaining why their prices are cheaper. Cancelling our health insurance, what a stupid thing to say.

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If he believes that the State should extend its control over other industries, perhaps all industries, I would like to know how he believes this can work in Canada when it has failed everywhere else: the USSR, Cuba, China, North Korea, et al.

If he believes it should not, and the LCBO should remain apart, I ask on what grounds he is advocating that the LCBO employees should have a parasitic existence at the expense of the rest of the country.

(Side points)

USSR - Bankrupted by cold war with United States.

CUBA - Economically choked by ongoing illegal US embargo

A parasitic existance.... you guys really seem to have it out for anyone who is paid enough to survive.... $34K/year... you begrudge that income... and call them parasites... (It only makes me wonder how much money you guys make, and following this, how come you don't have a job that pays a huge take-home pay of about $2000/month... not enough for a mortgage on a shack if you have to buy diapers an pay to run an automobile)...... perhaps a reflection on your mean-spirited conservative attitudes, or perhaps jealousy)

I think it is a good thing that the government doesn't embrace slave labour (minimum wage labour), and that the government's wage reflects the cost of living... not how badly you can get away with paying someone...

Pretty ballsy to be making assumptions about other people's lives that way, dude. Pretty presumptuous. I find it's a common trait among NDP types, to take an argument they can't win to a personal level, where more often than not they're just as wrong.

Of all the people I've ever known who've worked a union job, the vast majority either hate the company they work for or the union, bust most often they hate both. Their entire work lives have been made bitter by poisonous management/union relations that are forever being made worse by ridiculous grievances and unreasonable wage and job security demands, which is all the unions have left to justify their existances in this day and age in the industrialized world.

The only people who like the unions are the true believers, the people who get in tight with the union power structure early in their careers, becoming shop stewarts and spending most of their work time fiddling around with union crap instead of doing the jobs they were hired for. And if they fiddle long enough and with enough vigor they move up the food chain within the union, becoming regional or national "leadership", bargaining on behalf of people doing jobs they know nothing about under conditions that don't really concern them, trying to get the best "deal" which as often as not is factored heavily on how many dues paying members they can sign up.

Since you've decided to go personal and make assumptions about my life, and since you've spoken of having a "good job" and I've read nothing that suggests the contrary, I'm going to go out on a limb an assume you're one of these people. If you aren't, then you know how I feel about the post I'm responding to. If you are, then you know how I feel about you.

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PS "illegal" embargo? Please. How many times have you been prevented from vacationing in Cuba?

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No one is suggesting everyone  make minimum wage.  Actually, I suggested that a labour market will regulate itself.  Not many qualified people will work for minimum wage and it's damn near impossible to have knowledgeable and qualified people working for you if that's all you're going to pay them. 

The labur market may regulate itself somewhat. In Indonesia, it regulates itself... Management will invariably try to push wages downward. In a union shop, there is a chance for the employees to fight for wages that they can live on... In the local variety store, they can rely on finding desperate enough people to work for the minimum wage.

I think that the government, as a responsible employer should pay a wage large enough for the employee to live off. Especially noting that the company is running at a HUGE profit.....

I dont begrudge these employees making $17/hour.... It's not that much.... If they were paid $40/ hour, I might tend to sympathize with your argument....

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PS "illegal" embargo? Please. How many times have you been prevented from vacationing in Cuba?

You might not know this, but you CANNOT fly to Cuba from the United States. You cannot do business with Cuba if you are a resident of the United States. This embargo has been in place for over 40 years.

I was not suggesting that Canada is the country that is responsible for the illegal embargo against Cuba....

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The labur market may regulate itself somewhat.  In Indonesia, it regulates itself... Management will invariably try to push wages downward.  In a union shop, there is a chance for the employees to fight for wages that they can live on... In the local variety store, they can rely on finding desperate enough people to work for the minimum wage. 

I think that the government, as a responsible employer should pay a wage large enough for the employee to live off.  Especially noting that the company is running at a HUGE profit.....

I dont begrudge these employees making $17/hour.... It's not that much....  If they were paid $40/ hour, I might tend to sympathize with your argument....

Indonesia doesn't have labour laws though; the damage done by not protecting the workforce aganst criminal employers is evident. Not a good comparison at all.

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PS "illegal" embargo? Please. How many times have you been prevented from vacationing in Cuba?

You might not know this, but you CANNOT fly to Cuba from the United States. You cannot do business with Cuba if you are a resident of the United States. This embargo has been in place for over 40 years.

I was not suggesting that Canada is the country that is responsible for the illegal embargo against Cuba....

Many American citizens will fly to Canada -> Cuba or Mexico -> Cuba to go there.

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The labur market may regulate itself somewhat.  In Indonesia, it regulates itself... Management will invariably try to push wages downward.  In a union shop, there is a chance for the employees to fight for wages that they can live on... In the local variety store, they can rely on finding desperate enough people to work for the minimum wage. 

I think that the government, as a responsible employer should pay a wage large enough for the employee to live off.  Especially noting that the company is running at a HUGE profit.....

I dont begrudge these employees making $17/hour.... It's not that much....  If they were paid $40/ hour, I might tend to sympathize with your argument....

Good answer, comparing Suharto's Indonesia to Canada. Actually, considering that Suharto and Chretien were buddies...

I've never worked a union job. (Okay, I worked at UPS for three weeks while I was in school, but it hardly counts because a) I was a socialist back then and B) I wasn't there long enough to be involved in union politics.) I can say that, without exception, I've never worked in a non-union environment where management asked me to take a pay cut. Nor do I know anyone who has ever had this happen.

My wife worked for a time in a variety store, thank you very much. She made more than minimum wage. She ended up managing the store for a short while, and I can tell you most of the employees are part-timers earning a second income for their families. None of them were "desperate". You really should write about things that you actually know about, instead of denigrating people out of hand.

Hell, make minimum wage $17 per hour. Do you know what will happen? The cost of everything will skyrocket as companies are forced to pay for their increased payroll demands. Which means that the buying value of a dollar will decrease, which means making a higher wage won't mean anything. In a world where all labour was unionized, their wouldn't be any benefit in having a union job, for this very reason.

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PS "illegal" embargo? Please. How many times have you been prevented from vacationing in Cuba?

You might not know this, but you CANNOT fly to Cuba from the United States. You cannot do business with Cuba if you are a resident of the United States. This embargo has been in place for over 40 years.

I was not suggesting that Canada is the country that is responsible for the illegal embargo against Cuba....

Many American citizens will fly to Canada -> Cuba or Mexico -> Cuba to go there.

Besides which, a law passed by the US government barring it's citizenry from travelling to a particular isn't unconstitutional, and therefore not illegal. Unless you're from Planet Turtle Bay.

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Okay, for the record there wasn't supposed to be a smilely in my post above, it was supposed to be b and ) put together. Just to go off on a wild tangent, the smiley with the dark outline - is that supposed to be a smiley peeking through something, or is it supposed to be a smilely in a veil? If it's the veil, what context is it supposed to be used in? The wild, staring eyes are a little disturbing.

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Okay, for the record there wasn't supposed to be a smilely in my post above, it was supposed to be b and ) put together. Just to go off on a wild tangent, the smiley with the dark outline - is that supposed to be a smiley peeking through something, or is it supposed to be a smilely in a veil? If it's the veil, what context is it supposed to be used in? The wild, staring eyes are a little disturbing.

NINJA :ph34r:

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Okay, for the record there wasn't supposed to be a smilely in my post above, it was supposed to be b and ) put together. Just to go off on a wild tangent, the smiley with the dark outline - is that supposed to be a smiley peeking through something, or is it supposed to be a smilely in a veil? If it's the veil, what context is it supposed to be used in? The wild, staring eyes are a little disturbing.

NINJA :ph34r:

Hmmm. Ninja. Applies to posts about stealth and sneakiness. Not so good to confuse a ninja with a Muslim woman, for obvious reasons of senseless prejudice. Don't think I'll be using that smilely.

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