I’m an advocate for privatization of the state liquor stores for a wide variety of reasons, most importantly because I actually take alcohol regulation seriously, and the evidence is clear that PA’s cartel system does a worse job at harm reduction than the average state with market distribution of alcohol. It’s the taxes and the marketing regulations that matter, not *who* sells the alcohol.
Anybody who’s not a hack knows this is right, and once you’ve acknowledged that, then all that’s really left is dumb make-work political arguments – arguments that the public consistently rejects as the least persuasive out there.
Lottery privatization isn’t like this at all, and neither is Philadelphia Gas Works privatization. In both of those cases, the public really gains nothing in service quality or net disposable income from the sale of these entities. If we’re going to have a state lottery, since gamblers will find a way to gamble anyhow, we might as well keep all the money to pay for public services. Inserting a new layer of profit-seeking there doesn’t add anything of public value.
That’s why I’m so glad to see the Corbett administration admit defeat on lottery privatization. I doubt they’re convinced it was a bad idea since they’re ideologues who think private service provision is always better, but we’re all comparing the same legislative and election calendars, and they must understand as well as we do that this was the lowest impact, least likely agenda item to pass.
Republicans should make an election year push on a popular issue for them, like alcohol market changes that voters actually support, and which make Democrats sound stupid.