Corbett Booze Plan Is the Ultimate Kludge

Keystone Politics visits the Op-Ed Page of the Patriot News today to drop an argument that Tom Corbett’s booze plan is way way more complicated than it has to be. To sum it up, we need to completely get away from regulating *who* is allowed to sell booze, and focus our harm reduction efforts on pricing, advertising and law enforcement:

The reason why this question is the most important issue in the alcohol reform debate is that if we don’t actually need to restrict who can sell alcohol, then we can reduce problem drinking with some very simple straightforward tools.

There is some good evidence that the factors problem drinkers are most responsive to are advertising and prices. So a better way to reduce harms might be to ban alcohol advertisements, and switch to a gallonage tax on volume instead of value. That would raise the prices of the cheap swill that alcoholics tend to buy.

There’s no question that Tom Corbett’s proposal to liberalize alcohol sales would increase consumer convenience relative to the current laws [...]

The more interesting question is why Mr. Corbett has chosen to accept the basic logic of the Governor Pinchot’s complicated licensing cartel approach, layering kludge on top of kludge instead of just removing all the barriers to entry to selling alcohol.

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