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Article published February 6, 2013
Battle liquor union
Amesh A. Adalja M.D. Penn Township
The Feb. 4 Butler Eagle editorial favoring dismantling of the state’s socialist liquor monopoly makes several important points that appropriately support ending this coercive system. As the editorial notes, union opposition to the operation of the free enterprise system in the alcohol industry is fierce and is not subject to persuasion via rational arguments. Union officials, who hold the liberty of Pennsylvanians hostage, have abandoned principle in favor of pandering to their membership and increasing their political power. If this dismantling effort is to succeed, highlighting the demagoguery of union leadership will be key. Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan for privatization of the liquor monopoly is neither “bold” — the label the Associated Press gave it — nor actually privatization. Corbett’s plan, while an improvement on the current coercive system, would leave the government with an enormous footprint that would allow it to dictate terms of business — an embodiment of the Prohibition-era philosophy that, unfortunately, is animating many Pennsylvanians. Such concessions (or half-steps) by Corbett open the door for additional watered-down proposals.