Tuesday, July 07, 2015

"Pennsylvania’s governor doesn’t understand economics," so he vetoes a bill ending the state's wine and liquor monopoly.

Before he became my friend, Frank Thackeray was my history professor at Indiana University Southeast. I was 19 years old in 1979 the first time I took one of Frank's classes, and was hooked. Much of the impetus for my fascination with European history can be traced directly to his influence, along with my cousin Don's (he's also a history professor).

All that came later. First, there was Frank, a smack-talking native of Pittsburgh, guiding a room filled mostly with native Hoosiers through European History 101. At some juncture, he accented a description by adding this:

"The fix is in."

With blank looks all around, Frank then had to explain what it meant -- as the article below does, too, a full 36 years later.

The Volokh Conspiracy: Pennsylvania’s governor doesn’t understand economics (or won’t admit the real reasons he vetoed ending state liquor monopoly), by Jonathan H. Adler (Washington Post)

In Pennsylvania, you can only buy wine and liquor from state-run liquor stores, run by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. As you might expect, consumers often face higher prices and less selection as a result. Restaurants — particularly those that seek to maintain high-end wine cellars — can face their own set of problems (unless they’re willing to skirt the law, as many do). Growing up in Philadelphia, I knew many folks who would buy their wine and liquor elsewhere, such as in Delaware or New Jersey. Many folks living in southeast Pennsylvania would load up on booze (in addition to fresh Jersey tomatoes) when coming back from the Jersey Shore in the summer.

This week both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill to end Pennsylvania’s state liquor monopoly — but it was not to be. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the legislation, claiming allowing private wine and liquor sales would lead to “higher prices and less selection” for consumers. No, really. That was the explanation. Read it for yourself.

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