Nation Laughs at Pennsylvania

The state government liquor store union is once again running ads showing a young girl at a funeral mourning a parent killed by a drunk driver, then claiming this will happen more and more if the state ends its monopoly over wine and liquor sales. It’s a sad story, and a cute girl. It also is a complete fiction—a made up story, stock footage of “girl at a funeral,” and bad use of statistics.

Around the country, from National Review to Reason to Public Sector Inc, folks are laughing at these over-the-top ads. Even folks at the Philadelphia City Paper are mocking the video (“PLCB union video: ‘Privatize state liquor stores, and my daddy dies’), making note of its faulty statistics. Pennsylvania ranks higher than the national average in alcohol-related traffic fatalities per capita, higher than the national average in accidents related to DUIs according to MADD and middle of the pack in total DUI rates and a whole host of other measures.

There is one obscure statistic that the union uses to say that we have “the lowest rate of deaths.” But here’s the kicker, that figure excludes accidents (and many other causes of death), making it irrelevant to an ad about drunk driving. But when confronted about this misleading ad, union leader Wendell Young effectively says he doesn’t care if he’s wrong but “the point is to get people’s attention.”

He’s got their attention, and now they are laughing at him.

But it isn’t just a ridiculous union ad that folks are laughing at, it is Pennsylvania’s entire backwards system. Check out this Wall Street Journal video making a mockery of Pennsylvania’s alcohol laws, and the inability of lawmakers to move Pennsylvania into the 21st century.

It’s time for Pennsylvania to quit being a laughingstock and join the other 48 states without a complete government monopoly over wine and spirits sales. If you agree, tell your Senator it’s time to get government out of the booze business.