Lew Bryson wants to dismantle the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board:
The PLCB exists because at the time of Repeal, Pennsylvania had a governor, Gifford Pinchot, who still ardently believed in Prohibition, and a legislature that believed Repeal may well be temporary and that Prohibition was still a strong political force — to be fair, a belief that was prevalent in the day. Few people knew that Prohibition as a political force was deader than a doornail, in a state of complete collapse.
Working with what they knew, Pennsylvania’s legislators put together a “control” system that was actually fairly common among states. They would control all sales of wine and liquor (note that beer was not included) through state-run stores. The clerks would simply deliver the bottle; they would not make recommendations of any one brand over another, a policy rooted in a brute force approach to fairness that would unfortunately lead to a total lack of any kind of service mentality. “We got it, you want it: play by our rules or get lost” was the attitude that ruled in the State Stores, and largely still does, despite the recent development of a human face.
The PLCB justifies itself by the revenues it brings in, by the supposition that it ‘controls’ abusive and underage drinking better than privately-owned businesses would, and by the money it “infuses” into the state economy by paying landlords for leases on the stores and the wages it pays its employees. It is a system that works so well that Pennsylvania is surrounded by great liquor stores across its borders.
I say we take it down.
If nothing else, you have to love Lew’s enthusiasm. He’s right, too. PA possesses some of the more archaic liquor laws around, and just about everyone in the Philadelphia area (at least, the ones who are into wine and liquor, and even beer) have headed down to Delaware and Maryland, or just across the river to New Jersey, for the better selections and (often) better prices of private liquor merchants.
Naturally, Pennsylvania, being a government and all, is slow to change, especially in regards to making drinks with alcohol more available to its residents (after all, think of the children!). So, even though Lew is getting plenty of support, this is going to take time. There are a lot of surrounding issues for privatizing liquor sales (for instance, the state employs a lot of people in those stores), but we have no doubt that between now and the Rapture, Uncle Lew will cover most of them.
Of course, the next question, the next step can only be: who is going to go undercover in the enemy’s lair?