Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A response to one anti-privatization talking point...

John Rzodkiewicz, who is apparently a State Store employee (at least, that's what he claims on his Facebook profile, and I have no reason to doubt him), has made some well-spoken counters on my pro-privatization Facebook page. I've developed a respect for the man. Recently he posted a link to a piece about the failure of privatization in Washington State (ahem...written by the Washington wine and spirits wholesalers association...), and followed it up with this comment:
Pro- privatization was ahead 85% to15% early on before debate.After some sober analysis the people saw no state has made more money from liquor after privatization, and just said no to selling off their public asset.

I felt compelled to respond, and wanted to share that response here.

John, the problem is, it's NOT a "public asset." It's an out of date, paternalistic anomaly, it is an insult to the character of the citizens of the Commonwealth to think we need to be "controlled," and under Joe Conti it has become an arrogant embarrassment.

"Wine kiosks"?! Questionable "courtesy contracts" awarded to family members of PLCB managers? The public humiliation of the BLCE because of incredibly shoddy record-keeping on beer registration? This is a system that NEEDS privatization to take it out of the hands of the people running it.

Honestly? For me, and for many others, it's not about the money. It's about the ridiculous monopoly. If I'm 15 minutes from my home in New Jersey for work, I'm not allowed to pick up a bottle of wine on my way home? That's not economic, that's unAmerican. And it's the only way the PLCB makes their "profit" -- a piddling 20-25% of the total they continue to claim they send to the General Fund -- by having a police-enforced monopoly that requires PA citizens to buy at the State Stores.

This isn't about the money, the "public asset," for the most vocal opponents of privatization: the UFCW.* It's about their jobs, that's all. Understandable, but this is not a public jobs program; or at least, it shouldn't be. It's a fossil. They can get jobs in the new private stores.

Give US a referendum, John. We'll deliver privatization.

*Again, and again, and again: I am not anti-union. I am strongly in favor of privatization of the Pennsylvania State Stores; that's all. I do realize that would mean the loss of union jobs...but new jobs would be created immediately.


Jeff Frane said...

Comparing PA to WA is ridiculous. In Washington, the only real inconvenience to the consumer is, like Oregon, only state liquor stores sell spirits. No secret police, no raids, no silly rules about six packs. It's difficult to whip up much enthusiasm, especially for ballot measures heavily lobbied against.

phillywinefinder said...

Have you ever personally been stopped coming back into PA with booze? Do you know anyone who has?

Lew Bryson said...

PWF: http://tinyurl.com/4zfd4rn

Active enforcement activity of the BLCE, according to their website.

Have I been stopped? No. Do I know anyone? No. But...I've never been 'stopped' for murder, either, nor do I know anyone who has, but apparently people get arrested for it every day in this country (and others get away with it). I read about it in the paper, and I read about BLCE border seizures in the papers, too.

What's your point?

Oooh said...

John Rzodkiewicz resorts to ad hominem attacks too often and has no real argument points.