Baptist and Bootlegger

I can't think of a better illustration of the "bootlegger and Baptist" coalition supporting prohibition than the case of California state senator Leland Yee.  By day, he was one of the most outspoken advocates of gun control.  By night, he was apparently trafficking in illegal weapons.

Smuggling only earns high rents if the underlying goods are illegal.  Who ever heard of cucumber smugglers, or dealers in the illegal cat 5 cable trade?  Every time Leland Yee took another action to make guns harder to own in California, he not only got pats on the back from gun control "baptists" on the Left, but he also made his criminal friends more money.


  1. Matthew Slyfield:

    "Smuggling only earns high rents if the underlying goods are illegal."

    Not completely true, smuggling can also profit when a good is technically legal, but so heavily taxed that the cost of smuggling and the smuggler's profits are less than the taxes.

  2. Mercury:

    I'm pretty sure that the new girl on the floor below me is smuggling cantaloupes.

    But oddly enough, when we're in the elevator together, I feel like a very nervous cucumber smuggler.

  3. STW:

    I've been saying this since I heard about Yee. It was all about maximizing profit. It's nice to read someone else saying the same thing.

  4. Seekingfactsforsanity:

    I don't think he thought much about the supply and demand curve. He was just doing what some politicians do best - deceiving and lying and profiting illegally. Yes, he was being a good, dependable democrat - ranting about the social injustice of profits, the violence caused by guns, and the virtues of government service.

  5. marque2:

    CIG smuggling is growing by.leaps and bounds.

  6. Matthew Slyfield:

    Yes, that was the primary product I was thinking of. However, alcohol smuggling to avoid tax stamps also exists.

  7. STW:

    I just realized that Yee's behavior is really no different than any other entity using the power of government to restrict competition and raise prices. The sugar lobby or the ethanol lobby barber lobby all use government to restrict competition (or mandate use) and raise prices for a certain few. Among the rent seeking crowd Yee is mighty small potatoes.

  8. Eric Hammer:

    It is a little nit picky perhaps, but "alcohol without a stamp" is a different product than "alcohol with a stamp," strictly speaking. One costs less than the other, and isn't legal to sell. Same juice inside the bottle, but a different outside of the bottle that makes all the difference.

  9. Anne Kenney:

    Leland Yee hardly surprises me. He spent $650K to represent this district. The other two candidates spent $800K and $300K. What does it say when 3 guys spend nearly $2million to vie for a State Senate seat? Does that seem remotely right when all the blue sheep around here just vote for the guy with the biggest name recognition? Power is seductive. And, skimming money is just the bonus. Getting caught? Odds are in your favor to not happen.