Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Madness Just Won't Stop

Some random thoughts.

A little bit of turmoil at the top of the PLCB financial empire? First August Hehemann was let go on November 10, 2014 after saying the PLCB needed to raise prices to offset the continued growth of expenses...in other words, for telling the truth. His replacement,  Oren Bachman, barely makes 15 months and now they are looking for his replacement. Of course, the fiscal year ends in about 50 days, so you have to wonder how long it will take to spin the financials this year with a new guy (or not) there. It took 125 days last year.

One of the better comments about privatizing the PLCB in the past few months: "How seriously can we take the argument that unnecessary government jobs should not be eliminated...because then there will be fewer unnecessary government jobs?"

The PLCB, moving at a speed unheard of in real business, only took 5 years and 10 days to approve a new store in Renovo. Of course, it isn't open yet, and might take who knows how long to actually open, but it made the list.  The new store at 167 Seventh St. is a whopping 327 feet from where the old store was at 536 Erie Ave. This beats the old record of taking over a year to move the Mountain Top Store 50 feet. I wonder if the blogs of last year and this year helped move them along, and if it did how many more years would it have taken otherwise? "Convenience is our middle name.  PLCB convenience that is, we don't give a crap about the consumer" could be the motto of the state stores.
Crap!  I'll never finish modernizing like this!
Canada is again showing how much more progressive they are in some things. A recent court case tossed out provincial restrictions on the purchase and transfer of beer, wine, and liquor from one province to another. It could potentially change the entire Canadian system of trade between the provinces. This is something that Pennsylvania (and U.S. constitutional courts) should look closely at.

Why was it good to have a restaurant or bar license for every 1,000 people in your Grandfather's day, one for every 2,000 people in your Father's day, but not now when it is one for every 3,000 people? What has changed? The PLCB of course, not the citizens' desire to have a drink with their food or to go out. Why is it up to them and not local government to decide what is best for their local citizens?

The PLCB serves no useful purpose in retail, it does not provide better selection, it does not provide better service, and it does not provide the convenience the citizens want. It cannot even be proved definitively that it provides more revenue to the Commonwealth than a competitive private system would. It only provides jobs to the PLCB.

While I wait (and I've been waiting a very long time) for someone to come up with a quote about why a government monopoly on a retail good is something worthwhile, I'll leave you with this:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."   - C.S. Lewis


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