Texas is a “Free Market” State, Right? No, Not Really.

June 09, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Holy Crap

All of our glorified politicians and Chamber of Commerce representatives continually crow about Texas being a “free market” state with a “light touch” when it comes to regulations.  But is that really true?  Actually, no.  It’s only free market for those who pay for it.  To wit:

  • You can’t buy a Tesla directly from the company in Texas.  You have to buy it online and have it delivered from California.  Bills to allow direct sales have died 3 times since 2013, killed by big money from the powerful auto dealers lobby to protect their own dealer franchises.
  • Under the same Byzantine laws promoted by Texas auto dealers, Warren Buffett was prevented from keeping his chain of auto dealers in Texas because his company happens to also own an RV manufacturing company in Indiana. Buffett tried to fix the problem, but Teabaggers shut him down and the bill never made it to the floor.  In Texas, manufacturers cannot sell cars.  I know, weird, right?
  • You can’t buy wine online in Texas like you can in most other states.  The powerful liquor lobby controls the governor’s mansion and both houses in the legislature, and has had enacted more Byzantine laws that are inconsistently applied.  These laws treat beer, distilled spirits, and wine differently, with complicated permitting requirements.  A national online distributor, Wines Til Sold Out, recently received a cease and desist letter from the State of Texas and has shut down sales to the state.  Texas consumers lose again.
  • This year, the powerful beer distributor lobby, which has doled out over $11 million to Texas elected officials (Greg Abbott got $1.4 million, and Dan Patrick got $688,000), got a roll back of the beer law passed in 2013 which encouraged small craft brewers to invest in Texas by lifting insanely low limits on how much beer can be made by small brewers and allowing in-brewery sales directly to customers.  That law was so successful that small brewers increased by 3 fold since 2011 drawing the ire of the beer distributors who don’t like competition.  They hate it so much that they got a new law passed this year that limits the size of brewers who can sell directly in their own taprooms.  The limit is a production size of 225,000 barrels in all of their facilities regardless of whether those facilities are actually in Texas.  This shuts down craft beer company Oskar Blues of Colorado, who just spent millions opening a new brewery and tap room in Austin, and also affects Deep Ellum Brewing which is near the 225,000 barrel limit and has already announced that, because of this law, it will now seek to invest in other more friendly states.  Oh, and BTW, mega brewers like Anheuser Busch, Heineken, and Miller-Coors were all given carve outs to the size requirement.  I’m shocked, just shocked, I tell you.  Well, not really.  Oh, and for reference, Anheuser Busch produces about 125 million barrels a year.
  • But it gets worse…In this same law, small craft brewers must pay a per barrel fee to local beer distributors for beer they sell in their own facilities and that is never actually touched by the distributor.  That’s right, folks, the Great State of Texas is so “free market” that it has made a law that allows huge multi-billion dollar distributing companies to freely extort money from small brewers for the privilege for selling their own beer in their own taprooms.  You’re welcome.  This bill is on Abbott’s desk, and if he doesn’t veto it, will become law on June 18th.  With $1.4 million of beer lobby money in his pocket, what do you predict he’ll do?

By now, most of those paying attention know that Texas is not a “free market” state, not in the slightest.  It has been turned into a corrupt banana republic that benefits the wealthy and powerful while trampling on the small businesses all over the state it claims to promote.  But the really weird thing?  Those same business people and consumers who are hurt by this corruption are the very people who support and vote for those who participate in it on a daily basis.

You can only draw one conclusion from these clear facts – voters in Texas are stupid.


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9 Comments to “Texas is a “Free Market” State, Right? No, Not Really.”

  1. Sandridge says:

    The Rethuglikkkans have simply appropriated the classic Mafia business model (and every other corrupt power group in history: monarchical, militaristic, religious, etc.).
    Their bull extends into many other facets of Texas life too. One area that I have to mostly avoid even thinking about is “communications”, particularly broadband internet service (lack of) in the boonies. The telecomms have had Austin sewed up and bought and paid for forever.
    I have to be ‘thrilled’ to even have cellular, 1-9MB, 20G/mo capped, ISP service; compare that to what y’all city folk have…

    I was looking for a EV type vehicle, pure EV or hybrid, wanted to see a Tesla too, no way; and my local rural Chevy dealer had never even heard of the Chevy Volt!

    But the alcoholic beverage stuff really pisses me off. The damned Baptists used to impose Texas’ “Blue Laws” and dry counties on us all.
    Guess what, there remains a vestige of those alcoholic beverage restrictions today: you are prohibited from buying beer, wine, spirits, from stores like HEB, Walmart, etc., after midnight on Fridays, 1AM on Saturday.
    I’ll allow that MADD may have influenced this weekend prohibition, but it’s still wrong.
    And nobody has a more serious view on DWI’s than me, I think there should be an instant death penalty imposed on a drunk involved in a vehicle accident. Why? I worked a wrecker in high school and have seen some really bad stuff on the highways ever since.

  2. Had only a brief time in Texas decades ago so I had to depend on my late husband for any knowledge of the state. He had nothing but negative things to say about it, particularly the highways which he reckoned were below the standards of a third world country. Now I truly fully understand why he said it was a great state to fly over! Thanks, El Jefe and Sandridge!

  3. Aggieland Liz says:

    Not me, Jefe!! I’ve been screaming for years that Republican politicians don’t give a crap about small businesses! They give a crap about large revenues and large market share; small people like me live on a margin and don’t have a lot of extra cash lying around to give to lying sacks of garbage peddling influence. Grifters every one.

  4. Sandridge says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I luvs much of Texas. I’ve worked and visited in many parts of it, will never see it all it’s too big.
    A lot of it I sure wouldn’t want to live in of course (no names… ;] ), happy with my Coastal Bend and Brush Country territory; the Valley was great, but wouldn’t go back now, just way too crowded today. Of course I’d much rather be in Hawai’i, maybe a couple years more…

    But Texas highways, for sure outside of the cities, are quite good (now anyway*). They tend to be well laid out, generally smooth, and nice to drive on (at least in off-peak traffic times). TXDOT seems to do a pretty good job, of course they have a huge budget and patronage system. If anything they overdo stuff (markers, signage, etc).
    I get ticked off when I see them resurfacing and redoing roads that were just done a few years before, I guess they have makework projects.

    * Watching old movies and tv filmed in TX and the country roads looked pretty much the same then. Of course they’re not.

  5. Larry from Colorado says:

    Luckily I only spent 13 months in Texas going through pilot training at Webb AFB. I’ll never forget having to sign an affidavit that I needed to have the bread knife on a Sunday in order to buy it.

  6. George in Lee County says:

    Yep, a majority of Texas voters are gullible dummies. A condition I attribute to there being too much white bread in the typical Texan’s diet, and to the impressive ability of the Texas GOP to field candidates who are pretty, not too bright, and capable of lying effectively and continuously.

    Texas is like a banana republic, and people like our guv, like Dan Patrick, our AG and the idiots who infect the Legislature are the top bananas. I am waiting with anticipation to hear the screams of pain and anger from my stupid fellow Texans when the chickens finally come home, when Trump is revealed as a lying SOB, when schools and hospitals start limiting the attendance at both, and when law enforcement in our rural areas becomes sort of hit or miss because there just aint enough money for local sheriffs to field deputies. Of course, the anvil chorus will blame it all on Obama. Stupid shits….

  7. That Other Jean says:

    “. . .voters in Texas are stupid.”

    Unfortunately, this is not front-page news any more. The last smart thing Texans did was elect the late, great Ann Richards as governor. I know some of them are trying to reject the general stupidity, but there’s a long way to go.

  8. easttxdem says:

    Face it, friends…we live in the Republic of Stupidstan.

  9. A!though I’ve never lived in Texas, I’ve driven across it a few times – enough to know that Texas air-conditioning is a long neck bottle of LSD (Lone Star Draft) between your thighs while wearing shorts. And that was legal while driving!

    But as I said when the Washington legislature raises tax on microbrews, “That’s taking democracy too far.”