I was waiting for the pushback on the statewide Do Not Serve list idea, and it finally arrived in the comments.
Brett Heffner writes:
I am adamantly opposed to such a draconian Big Brother proposal. It would probably apply retroactively to offences occurring many years ago. How about summary offences like public drunkenness and underage drinking—would they count? This proposal would disenfranchise millions of Pennsylvanians from the alcoholic-beverage industry with no hope of a second chance. Too many places would lose too many reliable customers. What would be next, perhaps secret PLCB dossiers on ‘problem drinkers’ with secret additions to the do-not-serve list based on interviews with bar staff? It is a waste of precious resources to maintain ‘order’ and the alcoholic-beverage industry would strongly oppose it—as it should.
A few points in response: I think there’s room to compromise on sentence length and the numbers and classes of offenses that will land you on the list. Some people don’t deserve to get banned forever, but others do. I’d give judges the discretion.
Personally, I think if you get convicted three times for alcohol-related offenses (and I’m thinking property crimes, drunk driving, domestic violence, and other offenses where other people are impacted) then you have a drinking problem and you shouldn’t be allowed to buy alcohol.
Brett is right that the alcoholic beverage industry would probably oppose this, since their business strategy is based on the 80-20 model. 20% of the drinkers provide 80% of the profits. They make a ton of money off alcoholics and problem drunks.
The other reason to prefer this plan to the state monopoly is that most people are not problem drunks or alcoholics. Most people who drink alcohol do so in moderation and do not cause serious trouble for themselves or other people. It’s only a small minority of jerks and addicts who cause most of the trouble, and commit most of the crimes.
Instead of collectively punishing everybody for the sins of a smallish group of spoilers, why don’t we design regulations that maximize freedom and choice for responsible people, and then simply lock the irresponsible people out of the market?