Prohibition and the Great Depression

Great Depression & Prohibition

Burt and I were talking about the repeal of Prohibition, the 18th Amendment, in 1933, a year when the Great Depression was roaring.

On the Coastside, the end of Prohibition instantly put a lot of rumrunners and bootleggers out of business. No more “mother ships” carrying whiskey from Canada visible from the South Coast, Miramar, Princeton-by-the-Sea and Moss Beach.

When liquor was illegal, the key players made fortunes. Moving down the “food chain,” the rewards were worthwhile for anyone.

In San Mateo County, 1933-34 was the year Bay Meadows Racetrack opened, with pari-mutuel betting [meaning the state government controlled the proceeds.]  The humble Thoroughbred Seabiscuit, the “people’s horse” treated like a Hollywood movie star.

Now, putting it all together, 1933-34, a year when the costs of the Great Depression were steep, gambling and alcohol were legal.

Do you think that a solution to our government’s financial woes is to make everything that is illegal, (prostittuion and illegal drugs) legal, and tax it?