I seriously cannot believe I am hearing a Republican make this argument. It’s a stupid argument when liberal protectionists make it, but it sounds even dumber coming from a politician whose political party has fetishized free markets and condemned the picking of winners in recent years:
But if privatization in some form is to happen, Scarnati said, the Senate aims to find a balance between the “ideology” of getting the state out of the liquor business without compromising existing private-sector businesses.
“It’s not just about grocery stores, it’s about beer distributors, too and we have to understand that,” Scarnati said.
Scarnati has a long history in the restaurant business, and he said it’s not fair to penalize liquor license holders who’ve played by the rules by suddenly expanding their local competition
In this case, the free market position is exactly right. The only reason beer distributors would go out of business is if people prefer buying beer at the grocery store. And if that’s the case then who cares?
There isn’t any public interest in protecting high profits for beer distributors. What does it matter to the voters if they lose money to grocery stores because people turn out to like grocery stores better? It isn’t like a handful of distributors failing would present any serious systemic risk to PA’s economy. We wouldn’t even notice it in the monthly jobs numbers. There’s just not a good reason not to let people buy beer where they want, and let the business models fall where they may.
(Via Melissa Daniels)