Of course, the whole problem is that a bureaucrat has to ask politicians for this favor.
Also joining the fray is the LCB workforce's able representative, Wendell W. Young IV. In a meeting with the Editorial Board last week, Young, the president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, offered a brain-scrambling series of arguments to support the theory that the state is the best of all possible liquor purveyors.
Although an independent poll found that two-thirds of Pennsylvanians would support selling off the liquor system, Young claimed that 86 percent of State Store customers are satisfied with their experience. How did the union arrive at this impressive statistic? By paying for its own poll and restricting it to regular State Store patrons - thus excluding anyone who has decided to give up and shop in New Jersey.
Young argued that privatization is being pushed not by the public, but by a conspiracy of effete "wine snobs," conservative think tankers, and, above all, "Big Alcohol." At the same time, he crowed about the LCB's purchasing power - which derives from the fact that it's America's biggest alcohol buyer.
The union also maintains that much of the liquor and wine business would be absorbed by chain stores that wouldn't hire a single additional employee - but that overhead and prices would nevertheless skyrocket.
And Young suggested that government control can be credited with the state's low rates of drinking and deaths from alcohol-related disease. That not only contradicts his insistence that the system does nothing to discourage consumers. It also asks us to ignore the myriad demographic and other variables that affect such statistics - as well as Pennsylvania's above-average rate of alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
Young deserves credit for modesty, though: He says it won't be the union that defeats privatization. What will? "The truth."