Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Federal Booze Reserve

Not totally insane
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To preserve the stability of the US economy, the Government should build of stockpiles of key commodities.

We have a gold reserve. We have fuel reserves. Snowy regions have salt reserves. We stockpile food.

But we do not have a federal booze reserve.

Consider the following:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the ruble became practically worthless. Vodka, however, was a trusted commodity. It was possible to exchange a bottle of vodka for fuel, food, etc.

Alcohol is an excellent preservative, and any booze reserves the government builds up would retain their value.

During good times, the government could buy small quantities of booze. With high inflation, the government could sell the booze, taking dollars out of circulation in the process. The laws of supply and demand would dictate that the prize of booze would drop accordingly, doubly easing inflation. During a recession, the government could buy high quantities of alcohol, injecting money into the economy AND making it more expensive to get drunk by reducing the supply, thus enhancing productivity, since people will work extra hard in order to bring the price of booze back down.

To prevent abuse, every bottle the government stockpiles can be etched with a special high tech tool. Every bottle released for sale can be etched again. Once a bottle is double-etched, the government will not buy it back, the government is to only buy fresh bottles, wholesale. Ted Kennedy, George W. Bush, and other politicians with drinking problems would not be allowed near the etching machine.

Any pols caught with a single-etched bottle, of course, are thrown out of office imprisoned for violating the booze reserve system.

The average US citizen consumes over 6 liters pure alcohol per year. Assuming the average bottle in the stockpile is 40 proof, that means 30 bottles per person would be a year's supply. True, some wines would be stockpiled, too, but the wines would be offset by everclear and bacardi 151.

Should the dollar collapse, the economy can survive by using alcohol as a barter medium. Times will still be tough, but employers can pay their employees with a few bottles a day, which will be plenty to buy basic necessities. The government stockpiling would ensure an excess of alcohol out in the market if that dark day comes.

Madai, Oct 27 2005

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       Croissant from one drunk to (apparently) another. However, how would you prevent a rebound in bootlegging operations? The largest increase in crime, organized or not, in American history was due to prohibition. If we allow the gov't to control supply in times of recession through cost, how do we prevent bootleggers from simply underselling the gov't with illegaly imported spirits or home brewed hooch?
(mans)laughter, Oct 27 2005
  

       The royal mint will never be the same again +
fridge duck, Oct 27 2005
  

       Good question. Abuses for the system come in a myriad of forms, and homebrews are one of them.   

       However, abuses exist in the current financial system such as counterfeiters. It doesn't destroy the system. Savvy businessmen will learn whose alcohol supplies they can trust.   

       While hooch can get you drunk, even a layman can tell the difference between hooch and, say, Captain Morgan.   

       During a recession, people will buy less Captain Morgan and buy more hooch. But they will miss the Captain dearly. In other words, part of the system is built on brand loyalty cultivated by the corporations. A liter of hooch will simply not be worth as much as a liter of a name-brand booze.   

       Now as for importation of booze, yes it will effect the system, but there are logistics at work. If the govenment stockpiles in amounts large enough to effect supply and demand, any small time illegal importers will have trouble keeping up.   

       Also, drinking and possessing alcohol will not be illegal. Crime will increase during a recession, this is inevitable, but since alcohol sellers will be operating legally thugs cannot shake them down.   

       If someone steal your beer, and your are over 21, you have legal recourse. If someone steals your marijuana, you can't sue them, because you'd incriminate yourself.   

       So, alcohol related crime will not be as rampant as it was in the prohibiton era. Alcohol will be a "grey" market, not a black one.   

       But, all the problems with importation/home brewing will occur during a recessionary period. Recessions are not the main danger here. If anything consumers will be grateful the government is buying up the excess booze, because it will help keep the manufacturers in business. The main danger this counteracts is inflation, specifically, hyperinflation to the point of currency collapse.   

       If we undergo inflation at the rate of 20% a year, many people will seek assets that will retain real value. Booze is one such asset. Housing, of course, is another, but it's hard to trade a house, because they are worth so much. Small, non-pershiable, mobile, relatively valuable items are better as currency-- gold coins, alcohol, etc. But there's not enough gold to go around, and gold would be subject to hoarding. Booze is much more abundant, and less susceptible to hoarding, especially if major bottlers survive the collapse of currency.
Madai, Oct 27 2005
  

       If they stock exclusive wines and beers and whiskey and cognac they can sit back and watch it become more valuable in time.
zeno, Oct 30 2005
  

       [The average US citizen consumes over 6 liters pure alcohol per year.] That's all? I do that in one night.
sleeka, Oct 31 2005
  

       In order to drink that much and not die, you must weigh a ton, literally. A liter contains over 30 oz, .50 BAC is death, 180 oz pure alcohol over 12 hours will kill anything that weighs less than 1986lb.   

       Any macho-ness by being able to drink that much is completely outweighed by the fact you're a fatty. Enjoy your drinks, fatty!
Madai, Oct 31 2005
  

       Alcohol evaporates. It is like singles in my wallet, just gone - don't know where.   

       Good long term seals are important for this to work.
popbottle, Apr 12 2014
  

       Why is the rum always gone?
Alterother, Apr 12 2014
  

       //The average US citizen consumes over 6 liters pure alcohol per year.//   

       That's ridiculous. That's barely 60 litres of wine.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 12 2014
  

       People forget the original worth of alcohol was its caloric value. I have read that workingmen in Victorian times got half or more of their calories from gin.   

       A clever spin on this would be an alcohol reserve that could also fuel vehicles. I understand Brazilian vehicles run on ethanol. Do they have a strategic reserve?
bungston, Apr 12 2014
  

       //since alcohol sellers will be operating legally thugs cannot shake them down.   

       You forget the taxman.   

       I believe this has already tried in Russia, it was called Boris Yeltsin.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 12 2014
  

       // I understand Brazilian vehicles run on ethanol. Do they have a strategic reserve? //   

       You might say that--it's their sugar cane crop. See, down there they make ethanol the right way, out of really fibrous woody plants like sugar cane and hemp, not out of plants with excellent political connections such as corn. And the really neat thing is that they use sugar cane that's already had the sugar extracted, so they're basically making gas from garbage.   

       Wouldn't it be cool if we could do that here?
Alterother, Apr 13 2014
  

       Erm, I thought [whatever petrol is called in your area] already has ethanol added into it?   

       Problem in the old days was carburetion, as need bigger hole for alcohol than for [whatever petrol is called in your area]. Now with fule* injection, press a button should do it.   

       *decided that on dates which are a prime number, I don't have to spell fuel properly. Damn, I mean fule.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 13 2014
  

       Some of the gas in the US has ethanol, mostly made from the wrong kind of vegetation so DC lobbyists and other parasites can get rich selling food as fuel. Up north where I am it's not so prevalent, which is just fine with us since we use a lot of small-engine equipment and E85 runs like shit in a two-stroke.
Alterother, Apr 13 2014
  

       So since I can make beer, wine, or 'shine, can I issue my own currency? Bitcoin move over, the Ouncebuck is moving in...
normzone, Apr 16 2014
  
      
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