Friday, July 30, 2010

From the "Since you asked…" file.

Gov. Gregoire inquires
"Do you want liquor sold at street corner stores all across the state of Washington?"
Since you asked, sure.

Not that I support either of the privatization initiatives on the ballot this year - in this, as in virtually all, matters, I favor a legislative solution - but as a general proposition, why not? The neo-prohibitionist notion that the Mad Dog on your Quik-E-Mart shelf, or the tawny port on the grocer's shelf - is somehow less prone to abuse by those inclined than a pint of vodka is just silly.

While real government functions are out-sourced hither and yon, our state government hangs on to a retail monopoly at the expense of improved prices, selection and service that a private system could offer.

This isn't about drunk drivers, or The Children©, or revenue. It's about a relative handful of state jobs that are being maintained at the expense of scores of potential profitable small businesses and private sector jobs. Will those workers be AFSCME workers? Nope. A goodly number, though, will be members of other unions, and the new and growing businesses that a sensible move to private spirits sales could produce many new opportunities for union organizers.

So, without endorsing (or not) Initiative 1100 or 1105, sure. Legalize it.

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