The Key To What Is Open During Lockdown In America – Follow The Money

It started as a vague thought about why was it liquor stores were considered to be essential services during a nation wide lockdown, when beauty salons and barber shops were not.


What purpose does booze serve in this situation of faux quarantine other than as a coping mechanism for people stuck in their houses for weeks on end? There are some health benefits from moderate consumption, but in a culture where alcohol has a negative stigma from some quarters as “just a drug”, and has not been a part of the overall culture other than as a nice, but not necessary consumable, for over a century, why would beer, wine and spirits sales be deemed essential?

And then it hit me.

TAXES. Federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes, import taxes, and on and on.

Alcohol carries a higher tax rate at all levels than just about any product on the market other than firearms which I found out are taxed along with ammunition at 10% to the federal government. (source) Plain and simply, with America not working, and income tax receipts going to be down in the next year, the federal government needs the money…and if there is anything that Americans can be depended on to purchase, it’s liquor and guns.

What is considered essential to remain open then, other than civil services of police, fire and trash pick-up; medical services and then only emergency and maintenance service; burial services; banking services; grocery and discount stores; carry out for those who don’t cook; and construction, is what products and consumables generate revenue for the federal government and will keep people working from home (source). To wit:

Gun stores
Liquor stores, including state-owned ABC liquor stores
Gas stations
Hardware stores
Technology stores

Edit/update: I was reminded by commentors that marijuana shops and abortion clinics should be added to this list, although the tax advantage is not necessarily in play.

Follow the money….

So, back to booze, and the tax revenue generated, I put this quote on my original comment on the May 13, 2020 Daily Thread. (Source)

II. Federal Excise Alcohol Taxes
The U.S. government collects these alcohol taxes per gallon.

alcohol taxesBeer…….$18.00

Wine…….$1.07 to $3.40 depending on alcohol content.


The federal government collects about one billion dollars per month from excise alcohol taxes on spirits, beer, and wine. The taxes on spirits are much higher than those on beer or wine. Therefore, well over half of that tax money comes from spirits consumers.

And that doesn’t include the import taxes of any and/or all of the above that comes from other parts of the world, or what is added on by the state, counties, and various municipalities, which can be up to double the money and in a number of states must be purchased from a state monopoly store (source). And, on top of it, all dealers have to have a license, which also generates revenue for government at all levels.

In other words, the tax receipts on these products, straight up, from the perspective of the people in charge of taxing us, can’t be shelved during lockdown.

That does not explain, though, why all the retailers other than Walmart, Target and other big box stores are left open when other businesses selling products rather than offering services are left to languish. To wit:

  • furniture and home furnishing stores
  • clothing, shoes, and clothing accessory stores
  • jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
  • department stores
  • sporting goods stores
  • books, craft, and music stores

So many of these sorts of stores are owned by conglomerates that are publicly traded and do import business, it is puzzling other than for optics since sales at these places DO generate tax revenue at the local level.

But taxes are not collected on sales at the federal level, and certainly not at a rate of 10% or higher as is the case of firearms and ammunition.

So, what is NOT deemed essential right now? Any service or venue that DOES NOT generate revenue for the federal government.

Entertainment venues

bowling alleys
concert venues
auditoriums and performing arts centers
tourist attractions including museums and planetariums
indoor children’s play areas
adult entertainment venues
bingo halls
venues operated by social clubs

Athletic facilities and activities

fitness centers and commercial gyms
spas and public or commercial swimming pools
yoga, barre and spin facilities
spectator sports
sports that involve interaction with another person of closer than six feet
activities that require the use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment
activities on commercial or public playground equipment

Close contact service providers:

hair salons
waxing salons
threading salons
nail salons and spas
body art facilities and tattoo services
tanning salons
massage therapy establishments and massage services

Entertainment venues can be argued to be soft targets which need to be minimized as the military goes about keeping us safe, but, still, the admission price is not taxed at a federal level. Some local taxes may apply, but that is not a given.

Services, OTOH, are rarely taxed. Any taxes paid are for product in relation to the service. At least, in the state where I reside, that’s the case.

So, there you have it. Why are liquor stores deemed essential when hairdressing and barbers are not?

Follow the money.

55 thoughts on “The Key To What Is Open During Lockdown In America – Follow The Money


    In a just world, a class action suit would be filed for damages.

    I guess that’s what the CARES Act is supposed to be, in a way.

    But, it’s a pitiful consolation to both those who have lost jobs and businesses – and – to those whose loved ones were targeted and killed by the (insert expletives) Democrat-assisted genocidal Chinese Communist Party-engineered and released virus.

    Liked by 16 people

  2. You forgot pot shops. Those are open.
    Kohls was closed and reopened for curbside a few weeks ago, way before Gruesome revealed “his plan” which included things already being done.
    Drugs and booze as a panacea for financial ruin. Like the 1920s, just 100byears later. History best not repeat itself again.

    Liked by 14 people

      1. They call ‘pot’ medical, just like they call abortion ‘women’s health and family planning’

        They are getting ready to expand PP/Gates abortion and eugenics even more globally through China-based orgs. according to Amazing Polly’s recent research posted on Flep’s news roundup yesterday.

        Liked by 9 people

        1. The same beasts also call child exploitation aka p3doph-lia ‘childrens sexual rights’ They are beasts and monsters wallowing in darkest depravation.

          Liked by 7 people

        2. Actually, I have sympathy on marijuana being used as an anti-nausea drug for terminally ill and cancer patients. Also, cannabis HAS been shown to have benefits to people with Parkinsons, among other ailments. So, I don’t want to completely throw that out, but as a recreation drug…it’s dangerous.

          Killing off and sterilizing humans has always been in the plans. Since the late 1940s, the movement has been less public and vocal, but prior to WWII, there were medical journals dedicated to eugenics, and certain quarters of medicine, it was accepted as beneficial to humanity not a violation of human rights. I can’t say how I’m so sure of this, but I found this out as part of my work history.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I am following a blog call Elana’s pantry. The blogger has MS and uses cannabis. But she says the component that makes one high does is not necessary to get relief from MS…and she buys marijuana without that component. FWIW

            Liked by 2 people

  3. I think the small retailers and restaurant owners, especially non-corporate, are being killed off to the advantage of big box stores. The sut-down is a huge advantage to big business, and I wonder if that is part of the plan. Also, I see it as an opportunity to gain public acceptance of robotics and drones.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Those are two good points, Zoe!

      The Russell 2K Index, which is basically main street type companies, has been hit with a -42.29 % drop from this WuFlu mess.

      That doesn’t include all the small businesses that are privately owned, though.
      The full carnage of the small businesses won’t be known for months, when we see how many of them reopen.

      Robotics and Drones.
      Yeah…Big Business and the Tech Tyrants want us to accept those as a part of their ‘new normal’.

      [They] don’t care how many jobs they kill with Robotics.
      And [They] want us to accept that surveillance Drones are there to “keep us safe”.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Like you, I’m upset about the loss/lack/squelching of choral music in churches and everywhere.


    Get your choirs together – America, and sing to us – in the streets, parking lots, parks, rooftops, beaches, mountain tops – SING OF GOD, LOVE, JOY, FREEDOM, AMERICAN LIBERTY FOREVER!!!!

    Liked by 7 people

  5. Great recap DP. Have to agree I believe the small mom and pops are a target in the shut down. Most only have a handful of employees, so much easier to move them to being depending on the government $$ from the PPP bills.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Well, a lot oof the really small mom and pop businesses can’t even Get help as they are at the end of the line. Many will not survive this. I think that’s part of someone’s plan

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Great point about the money. I hadn’t realized that some items are taxed at a higher rate. I wonder if this also applies in some states that might tax certain things at a higher level. This needs to be brought to the fore so everyone around the country becomes aware of it and starts asking questions.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. Great Post DP! The first county to reopen auto dealerships in NY did so last week in advance of Andy’s “NY on Pause” expiring.

    Why? Auto sales are one of the area’s biggest generators of sales tax and a big chunk of local government revenue.

    Liked by 10 people

  8. The other high tax item is Cigarettes. Interesting that those are widely available, but they shut down their competition…Vape stores. Follow that money trail. Vaping is 95% far more safe than smoking cigarettes and
    Big Tobacco has had it in for that industry since Day One. Responsible vaping is the number one cessation tool that has enabled more former smokers to quit cigarettes . Vaping has succeeded where gum, the patch, pills, hypnosis, etc., could not. I highly suspect JUUL was created to sabotage the Vape industry phenom because it was taking BILLIONS away from Big Tobacco. They created a small hip device that used a dangerously HIGH amount of concentrated nicotine, levels that make even hardcore smokers sick, and marketed to kids. Altria/Philip Morris even bought a stake in JUUL and helped to market. Their goal was to sicken/posion the kids so there would be a public outcry to BAN ALL VAPES. They almost got away with it. TG people stood up and POTUS listened. Big Tobacco is just as nasty and ruthless as the other Biggies.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. The problem these Blue state Govs and their ARBITRARY guidelines that turned into “laws” enforced by local law enforcement, and local judges and code enforcement, are unsustainable. The Blue state Govs WANT the power, they LOVE their power, and the longer this experiment in SOCIALISM is allowed to continue, the HARDER it will be for them to give it up WILLINGLY, no matter the cost to the economy OR the people.

    I fear, unless ended SOON, and I mean VERY soon, I fear that some overzealous leftist LE officer may encounter a highly resistant business owner, one VERY desperate to feed their family. One that may be ARMED. I fear a second Boston Massacre. The event that REALLY kicked off the American Revolution in 1770.

    Everyone has heard about the “shot heard round the world” in 1775 as British were moved to the towns of Lexington and Concord to protect ammunition. They were engaged by John Parker and Colonial Militia, and a British volley rand out, killing seven Colonials, the British were then later routed, and the American Revolution became a shooting war.

    Not many have heard, or remember the Boston Massacre. Look HERE:

    This is the story of a Colonial Shopkeeper in Boston that did not like having his business labeled an “importer”.

    “Christopher Seider was a British colonist killed in the political strife that became the American Revolutionary War. He was 11 years old when he was shot and killed by loyalist Ebenezer Richardson”

    In other words, the situation was MADE a powder keg by draconian rules and taxes levied on the American Colonies by King George, a far away ruler. Local people did NOT like it and protested. A shopkeeper loyal to the Crown did NOT like the people protesting him. He shot and KILLED an 11 year old boy.

    Does the FIRST part sound familiar. It should, it is basically where we are NOW.

    I fear some business owner will not go “quietly” when threatened with arrest or closure, and the NEXT short heard round the world will be fired.

    The Left may like that, the rest of the country will NOT, and that will be like a wave rolling over the beach as ripples spread far and wide. We do not need martyrs, we need our business open again and Govs keeping their hands OFF of them and our freedoms.

    We are the equivalent of 1770 Boston as a COUNTRY now. I hope some LE of shop owner do not become the next Christopher Seider or Ebenezer Richardson.

    Mr President, it is high time to END this farce before FAR more people die in what will be a coming conflict than will EVER be killed by this virus. As we have seen in our history, it only takes one shot to spark a Revolution.

    Those that do not study and learn from History are doomed to repeat it.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I am very much afraid you may be correct Rex. I have been very surprised at the forbearance of American Patriots so far. I think that was one of the main goals of QAnon. To provide the hope of a peaceful outcome to head off violent confrontation as the LEGAL process slowly unfolded.

      At this point the Commie Cabal is doing all they can to goad the Patriots into a reaction. I do not think the Cabal Puppets in the media and in politics would like the results if they succeed.

      They forget about Americans ingenuity:

      Liked by 7 people

        1. The three ‘Boxes’ we do not want to resort to the LAST box, however if the DemonRats get their way the first two boxes will be negated leaving only the last box.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I think I have to differ. Essential services and products are mostly determined at the state level so each state has to determine that alcohol sales will continue in that state. True, the fed will continue to collect their share of the taxes but they did not decide to continue sales.

    Also, one of the goals of the shutdown was to lessen the need for critical health services. Shutting down the sale of alcohol would cause many individuals to have withdrawal in the form of DT’s. They can be severe and can require ICU treatment which would have been counter-productive. Better to leave them at home with their vice of choice.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. The question of liquor stores … follow the money … great insight!

    Follow the money…always good advice.

    However, as I read through the various lists and categories, tax revenue does not seem to be the way these categories are sorted. Usage and likelihood os spreading the infection does seem to be the way the above are sorted.

    Liquor stores are not places one lingers or that require close customer service/contact or that have large crowds at one time for a lengthy period or that have returns of merchandize that need to be sanitized.
    –>> This makes liquor stores actually fit into the profile of other allowed business – shops that are quick in/quick out.

    “That does not explain, though, why all the retailers other than Walmart, Target and other big box stores are left open when other businesses selling products rather than offering services are left to languish.”

    –>> I know of no state that is allowing Walmart, Target and other big box stores to open but not smaller chain grocery stores or independent grocery stores. The big box stores are not singled out favorably.

    –>>The big chains are not being favored over small chains or independent stores that are in their same genre of selling necessities such as household goods and groceries.

    –>> The other types of retailers you mentioned are all stores in which one lingers, needs higher levels of customer services and involves trying items on/sitting on furniture, etc. – all of which spread germs.

    –>> The very point the MI gov was making by roping off sections of these stores is that she was not allowing Any stores to sell clothing, etc., to remove the perceived favoritism of the big chains/box stores who are still above to sell clothing and other items while stores that specialize in these things were not able to sell them.
    She was also trying to reduce time spent in the stores and reduce motivation for people to come to the stores other than for things they truly needed.
    (NO, I do Not agree with the MI gov or defending her. Just pointing out that she was guarding against the very thing that you are pointing out re difference of standards with big chains/small retailers as far as items being sold)

    ALL other types of businesses that have been shut down, athletic events and venues, entertainment venues and events, and close contact services are events/locations/services that cause a higher rate of infection than do stores in which one moves relatively quickly down the aisles to get groceries. Sitting in one location for a period of time is proven to increase the #s an infected person infects.
    See article posted yesterday (Bakocarl, I think?)

    Ex: Jan, 2019 in TN ~$20 Million, alcohol taxes out of ~$1.4 Billion in tax revenue


    —>> Important to remember, a significant % of alcohol sales are restaurant/bar based and all are closed. If tax income as the deciding factor, then they would be open

    Taxes loss prevention does not seem to be the unifying factor in the shutdown categories.

    Averaged sources of income for state and local governments (will be different for each state such as states with no state income tax):

    Many states depend on income tax but with so many being thrown out of work due to shut down this does not seem to be the deciding factor. Businesses permanently closing their doors – state loses more $. But they don’t seem to care.

    If the metrics were only tax revenue then we would see tourism and events related to tourism continued as they are Major sources of revenue for most states and local gov via increased sales and hotel taxes.

    Where will gov really loose income? Gas tax – both because price has lowered and because purchases is significantly down. Also, general sales tax. But that is still not pushing them to allow more people to go more places and to return to normal work/commuting. Again, tax revenue does not seem to be the deciding factor.

    I really don’t see loss of taxes as a theme or a metric by which the businesses are being closed/opened. The division/sorting criteria seem to be the necessity of the business/goods/services (“essential” or not) and the rate at which the businesses/services/events increase the likelihood of spreading the virus.

    So, if the money is not to the tax revenue…what $ trail do we follow for motivation? And whose motivation?

    I see a lot of fear of political defeat if extreme measures are not taken and then large spikes of infection occur.

    >>Follow the $ to the source for the state or follow the $ to the source for the people making the decisions?
    Follow the money for their state or for politicians themselves?<<

    Follow the $ might hold up as a rule of thumb but are following the $ for the state taxes may not be relevant.

    Follow the $ for those in power and who want to stay in power for the sake of $ &/or power and we might be on a better, more accurate, more telling trail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I disagree, obviously. This whole thing is a cover for other activities…and tax revenue being lost at state and federal levels IS resulting layoffs, pay cuts, hours being cut, etc., for government employees. I know people who have been impacted. And they know darn well and good that income taxes are going to be lower for FY2020 and FY2021 due to this shutdown. I heard one Missouri state institution’s budget meeting specifically mentioned this.

      States that followed the guidelines where the governors have sense are reopening with this in mind.

      Follow the money still stands.

      And local grocery store chains being open were a given.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. MagaMama, i don’t know what state you are from but all the Walmart’s and Target stores around me have been open this whole time.

      I agree with you DPat.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. Counterpoint: Cutting off the alcohol causes more problems than good. The first problem would be the wave of alcoholics flooding the health system with withdrawal issues (can literally cause death in severe cases). The second would be the creation of a black market for alcohol. State governments probably took one look at the these scenarios and figured it would be best for everyone to just let the plebs have their booze.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Counter to the counterpoint.

      In states, like mine, where liquor stores themselves are dwarfed by grocery stores carrying the product. For this point to be valid, those aisles would have to be blocked off. Nobody said anything about making the product unavailable, just keeping the stores open. We’ve got more than one grocery store within three miles from here with better wine selections than the liquor store chains. And with the interstate system, Americans can cross state lines to get what they want. I mean, I’ve considered a road trip to North Carolina for incandescent light bulbs in the past.

      I don’t think this is as much of a concern as others do.


      1. You’re lucky to live in an area with sane alcohol laws where “liquor store chains” are a thing that exists and grocery stores are full of wine.


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