Or just never bothered to take the class in the first place.
Yesterday Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would have privatized the sale of wine and liquor while liberalizing the rules for selling beer in the Keystone State. Wolf counterintutively argues that replacing the state monopoly with private businesses would be bad for consumers. “During consideration of this legislation,” he says, “it became abundantly clear that this plan would result in higher prices for consumers.” He also worries that letting private businesses sell beer and wine would result in “less selection for consumers.”
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wolf and his fellow Democrats “warned that prices would rise as private businesses sought profit.” In other words, private merchants will jack up prices because they want to make money—unlike the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), which seeks only to raise revenue. If you think those two motives sound pretty similar, you are smarter than Pennsylvania’s governor, who fails to recognize that the relevant difference between these two models for distributing booze, when it comes to how high prices can be raised, is the presence or absence of competition. Other things being equal, more competition leads to lower prices, so it is hard to see why Pennsylvanians would have to pay more for a bottle of whiskey if the state monopoly were replaced by profit-driven businesses competing against each other.
As the resident of a state that recently privatized liquor sales, I can honestly state that the only reason the price of liquor went up after privatization is because of the increased taxes the state put on the liquor when they had a chance to amend the bill.
However, the part about there being less choice. Holy shit, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only do residents not have to drive dozens of extra miles to find one of the sparse number of state operated liquor stores like they did before privatization, the hours are much better, and the selection is easily a multitude better.
It used to be that you could only find something “rare”, such as Johnny Walker Blue Label, once or twice a year in the state-run monopoly stores. IF you were lucky and IF you made friends with the people who worked for the monopoly and they were kind enough to call you to tell you they got a couple bottles into their store. Hell, I bought a bottle from the duty free shop the first time I went on a cruise because I had never seen it in a state-run liquor store.
This morning at 9am I can find a bottle in 30 locations within 20miles of my house. And it doesn’t matter which one I buy it from because they’ll match their competitors price if theirs is higher because they’re competing for my business.
I hope the good people of Pennsylvania see this for what it is and recall this jive-turkey for lying to them.
That’d be a 21st Century Whiskey Rebellion.