Calling Shenanigans on Liquor Union Bosses

Pennsylvania’s liquor store union bosses have been called out by Dr. Antony Davies, an associate professor at Duquesne University, and James Harrigan, a fellow of the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University.

In a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article the scholars write,

Every argument in favor of state stores fails. State liquor control will not make us more sober, safer or richer. Preserving jobs isn’t even a viable argument since private vendors would need to hire experienced workers, and who better than the former state store workers?

The only thing left to justify the Liquor Control Board is that it keeps union bosses employed in their quarter-million dollar jobs. And since those bosses deliver votes, our legislators are very interested in keeping them happy.

The authors use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data to disprove the arguments that government in the booze business keeps us safer. And they’ve made it easy for you to see for yourself by highlighting the Mackinac Center’s new interactive website. Using government data, the site allows you to compare social outcomes for states that control their alcohol sales to states that don’t.

It’s time for legislators to listen to the nearly seven out of 10 Pennsylvanians who are ready to toast the end of the┬ástate-run monopoly on wine and spirits. To learn more, check out our Policy Memo on liquor privatization facts and visit to take action.