Ah, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the State Store system. So much can be written about that and so much has. So let me give it a “shot”. When talking about the LCB the subject most discussed is the state store system. Here is Pa. we have to buy wines and spirits from the government. Why? Just because! Some people want the system to be privatized while others want to keep it under the control of people don’t have real jobs. Let’s take a look at some this. But first I am going to get strong coffee.
Recently, Antony Davies, associate professor of economics at Duquesne University and a senior scholar at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. wrote a letter to the editor in the trib. He asked if the private sector could sell alcohol more efficiently than the state? His retort was that government has never done a more efficient job than private sector. My comment to Mr. Davies is to get off the campus more and see how private business is run. There is no law that says private business has to run efficiently, make money or give customers what they want. If that were not true then Dilbert would not exist. I have seen things done in retail that would make a government bureaucrat weep with envy.
The practice of operating efficiently does not have to be applied with the state store system. They have no competition other than boarder states and as long as we go in to buy wines and spirits at said price, what are they loosing? Could they make more money? Yes, But they are making money and being more efficient will not translate to lower costs for us. Under private hands, price could go up, selection could go down and we would still be bitching. And let’s us not forget the restaurant people. They now buy from a single source. How would they obtain stock? A central wholesaler who could control cost or multiple vendors fighting for sales? Should “big alcohol” go private don’t expect your Thunderbird to be delivered with unicorns.
Mr. Davis brought up the issue of underage drinking and drunk-driving (that’s drink-drive for my British readers). First of all, if alcohol was the only thing youngsters were taking in, it would be better than what they are taking in now. Getting booze and smokes have always been obtainable. How about dad’s liquor cabinet?
I have concerns and interests in how the LCB operates in general but as for state stores I don’t buy wines or spirits for home so I don’t care one hoot about them other than the state budget and my taxes. Anyway, should the system go private I am sure that we will have a good selection. As for price, we will pay for the value and not the worth. By that I mean that the price will based on what we are willing to pay as opposed what it cost to stock an item plus mark-up.
I am sure that all who read this has an opinion one way or another. I don’t see how a change in a products distribution will change its end use. All that is germane to this topic is taxes generated, price and selection. Right now we can bring our grievance to our representatives. We have been doing that and it has not gotten any better. Once the system goes private none of this will be any of our business.
Incidentally, I am only using Mr. Davis’ comments as he wrote a letter today and I could not pass it up. He said what a lot of people are saying and I think much of it is moot.