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News » Hits & Misses

Wielding the 'S' Word

Bland Brands, Waste Not, Want Not

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Wielding the 'S' Word
Is there anything that Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, wouldn't blame on socialism? He wants everyone and everything to pull themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps. That means you, U.S. Postal Service. And you, populated and hard-hit states. And of course you, the voter, according to a Deseret News report. This is an old and divisive tactic of Republicans, which the Los Angeles Times calls "a purposeful shift in rhetoric and political strategy as President Trump and his party increasingly focus on his reelection and wield the S-word, socialism, as their preferred weapon." For most of the voting public, the rise in democratic socialism is about social justice and economic inequality, not about taking over the means of production. But Stewart believes that the country should be punishing hard-hit states that have, as he puts it, "mismanaged their finances." He and his ilk would have you believe vote-by-mail is a federal takeover open to fraud—a claim long-debunked by organizations such as the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. This is about more than the $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill. It's about misunderstanding the dire threat facing the nation.

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Bland Brands
So, let's talk socialism—specifically the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. This is a state-run, for-profit business, so they get to do what they want to do. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, that calls for the "Walmarting" of the liquor business. The DABC is about to purge some of the slow movers (but much-loved brands) from their shelves, and that means bringing in more mass-produced national brands because it's all about the bottom line. In 2018, the DABC brought in more than $191 million to the state, and the amount goes up each year. The Pew Trusts notes that only Utah and Pennsylvania are total control states, and of course, we know why—the morality police are in charge. The Trib hinted at a possible compromise by allowing small businesses to carry boutique liquor items. The Legislature, holding tight to the profit-morality motive, probably won't go for that, even though they have no idea what social drinking is all about.

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Waste Not, Want Not
Not to laugh in the face of hardship, but the pandemic holds no hostages economically. The landfill bordering the fragile ecosystem of the Great Salt Lake is a good example. Promontory Point Resources is in default on its bond from Box Elder County and hasn't ever taken a piece of trash, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The deal has been controversial, partly because the county commission signed off without public notification. There was even a plan to take toxic coal ash, although that died before the public release of a market analysis. Apparently, though, there has been zero market interest, even after Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi,introduceda bill that would have done away with the need to prove market demand for out-of-state toxic waste. Hey, maybe COVID-19 will take down the Inland Port, too.