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Wrong on LCB's purpose

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The circus that was June 4's liquor privatization hearing in Harrisburg should not surprise Pennsylvanians accustomed to being governed by clowns.

I have no need to rehash the economics of privatization and benefits of the free market; the underfunded pensions of Liquor Control Board employees alone mean that taxpaying teetotalers are subsidizing my bourbon purchases (thank you, by the way).

What takes the prize isn't state Sen. Jim Ferlo's incivility at the hearing. Rather, it is his belief that the primary purpose of the LCB is to provide “family-sustaining jobs,” which is political-speak for jobs that require government subsidy because they are priced way above market.

Doubt this? Name all the retail companies that offer defined-benefit pensions to their employees. The answer, as you may have guessed, is zero, because they'd have exactly zero chance of not going belly-up.

The Soviet Union was a great experiment in setting “family-sustaining” wages for all its workers, disconnected from any market pricing. My question for Ferlo's parasitic model: If his system works so well, why doesn't he propose legislation requiring such “family-sustaining” wages (and pensions) for all Pennsylvanians?

If it's good for Wendell Young IV's state-store union geese, it should be good for all us ganders, too.

Benjamin Gross

Rosslyn Farms

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