Monday, June 15, 2015

PA House Democrats drank the PLCB Kool-Aid

Thinking the Democrats in the PA Legislature might suddenly, somehow come to their senses on normalization of the PLCB? Forget it. All the quotes below are taken from the PA House Democratic website. It seems that they have their own way of looking at things that may or may not match reality. Let's take a peek.

Facts?  Nobody posts facts on the internet!
"By modernizing and increasing convenience for customers, the stores would generate at least $125 million more per year once the changes are fully phased in."

That extra $125 million, even if possible, has to come from someplace and that place is you the PA consumer. Since they only make about that now with the prices they charge, how do you think they will double it? As for convenience, the number of stores has decreased by 25% since 1970, from over 750 to 605, and 7% of that loss is since 2010. Ask the people with only one or two stores in their entire county how convenient the state store system is.

"Recently, privatization in other states has brought higher prices and reduced selection in grocery stores."

There is only one state that "recently" privatized: Washington in 2012. Anyplace else was over 25 years ago and can hardly be called "recent" in my opinion.  So privatization brought reduced selection in grocery stores. Well, we can guarantee that won't happen in Pennsylvania, since they won't let us buy wine or spirits in grocery stores now! As for the higher prices, that's due to the higher taxes and fees that were imposed at the same time as privatization: can't blame that on the stores, that's just the greedy government. Don't want higher prices? Simple: don't raise the taxes!

Even if we look at states that did privatize 25 years ago we find that according to the PFM report and the State of Iowa itself -- they made more money. To quote the report, "Privatization was deemed successful from a revenue standpoint, with profits increasing by $125 million over the first 11 years of privatization compared to estimates under State control of the stores." For West Virginia it is said that not every county has a liquor store since they privatized and while that is true, NOBODY in West Virginia has to drive as far as some residents of Pennsylvania do. Let me say that again - NOBODY.

"In some communities, privatization would lead to the opening of more liquor stores, while in more rural areas, consumers might not have access to a liquor store without driving out of their way."

Again using Washington, only one of 39 counties has less liquor stores now than they did before privatization and even that county still has a liquor store. As far as driving out of their way, I guess that is subjective since the House Democrats don't think a round trip of 75 miles is "out of their way" as this citizen does. Perhaps the two years the people of Mountaintop had to wait for a store to reopen in the same shopping center wasn't an inconvenience either. More liquor stores means more convenience. Of course there will be more liquor stores! Pennsylvania has one of the lowest store densities in the entire world, outside of countries like Saudi Arabia where alcohol is literally illegal. We have been under-served for decades.

"PA Wine and Spirits stores carry 30,000 products, with an average of 3,000 in stock at any time. The stores provide or support 4,000 family sustaining jobs in every county in Pennsylvania."

Not to get too much into semantics, but if you have a product on a list -- that you don't control -- that just means it MAY be available in your system. There are private stores with 11,000 wine and spirits in stock, on the shelves, more products than in the entire state of Pennsylvania, and they can (and happily will) special order things too. There are none in Pennsylvania, of course, but they are easy enough to find. Just look across our borders. As for the jobs, over a third of all PLCB employees are part time and that isn't a "family sustaining" job. That leaves about 3,000 full time employees and not all of them work in the stores or support the stores so that 4,000 number is certainly high. The PFM report doesn't agree with it either. In any case, the states and provinces that have fully privatized tripled employment in the industry.

State Store Motto

And finally in an outright lie they finish up with:

"A June 2014 poll by Franklin & Marshall showed that more than half of the people questioned (57%) said they preferred to modernize the State Wine and Spirit Stores, rather than sell them off."

Too bad that the real number is 32% as shown on page 16 of the poll.  BTW, it went down in the March 2015 poll too. There has never been a scientific poll that shows the people want to keep the state stores, not once, not ever in 80 years. Maybe because we don't want the state store system and never have.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Under Richard Nixon, the Republican Party (after decades of gradually losing liberal/progressive folks to the Democratic Party) decided it would do a total 360 and welcome the conservatives (even the far-right racists) to boost its shrinking membership. It would do the GOP a lot of good if they started welcoming liberals back to their party (after all, the Republican Party was ALWAYS against slavery, and ALWAYS against segregation) and winning the support of the many young liberals in Philly (especially college students from all over the world) who surely hate not being allowed to buy alcohol where and when they want to, would be a great starting point. Would any of you agree?

I certainly am NOT suggesting all conservatives are racist, but I do think the Republican Party is too conservative, and has stooped to a very sad place by trading places with the Democratic Party. Remember, it was once Republicans who worked tirelessly to ABOLISH slavery (and 100 years later, segregation) and Democrats who fought to the death to KEEP slavery, then segregation. Honestly, I think the Republican Party needs to shatter the image that it's a party only for white men, submissive white women, religious fanatics, rich folks against taxes, and poor folks who reject any kind of government help for their situation.

After all, the Democratic Party wants to project this (totally inaccurate) image that it's the party that represents the poor, whether they be new immigrants or whether they be African Americans who have been here for centuries or whether they be white farmers who have been here for centuries. I personally associate the Democratic Party with hipsters (urban white college students who have countercultural beliefs about everything, to the point that their style of dress is unusual) who think they're smarter than the rest of us, yet have a LOT of growing and maturing to do. Most hipsters once done with college end up with MUCH more desirable jobs than any UFCW retail job that ever existed, so hipsters (who surely drink quite a lot of wine/spirits) I'm sure vote for Democrats, but not due to the liquor issue.

Ideally, I wish both parties would die and be replaced by MORE than two brand-new ones, but if only the Republican Party would end its deep attachment to conservatism (even though the party was CREATED by liberals) I'm sure hipsters would start voting for Republicans, and you can be assured the UFCW and PLCB will most certainly NOT be a deterrent.