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The business of drink: Not a state function

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Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 2:54 p.m.

Pennsylvania has no business being in the business of selling beer, wine and spirits. Period.

Post-Prohibition-era rules and regulations, government-designed for the public's “safety” and “security,” are broken artifacts of another age. They never served consumers or common sense but did serve a variety of special interests that have profited quite handsomely over the decades.

Gov. Tom Corbett formally announced his plan on Wednesday to get the state out of the business of drink. Hear! Hear! Bravo! It's about time! (Insert your superlative here!)

But the governor faces opposition. And it's not just from Democrats ready to do anything to preserve the rapidly waning power of the organized labor cartel. Mr. Corbett's fellow Republicans, who control both houses of the General Assembly, are rushing to the front of what easily could become an internecine war.

The GOP's Forces of Farce Preservation would like to either “modernize” the existing statist system — brings to mind the old Wendy's Soviet fashion show commercial — or nibble at the edges by allowing beer and wine sales in grocery stores (gee, thank you, “beneficent” overlords) but leave the sale of distilled spirits to the purview of the state (never mind, “beneficent” overlords).

Gov. Corbett has taken his lumps on a variety of issues and with good reason. But he's spot-on when it comes to beer, wine and liquor divestiture. And it's Republican House and Senate members who deserve voter lumps should they sabotage real progress.



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