CNN iReporter and political commentator Cliff Olney puts the aim of the Right and the Republican Party’s zeal for a constancy of privatizing government little by little into real world perspective. He decided to bring to the forefront a story that goes under the radar but that is happening throughout the country.
Mr. Olney tells the story of Pennsylvania’s effort to privatize their liquor stores. This is a story that is being repeated throughout the country with little fanfare from the mainstream media. Prisons are being privatized. Services are being privatized that ultimately use foreign labor indirectly as American workers are commoditized.
It is however something that all taxpayers have the right to know. Taxpayers must be informed that their government is being sold to private profiteers right under their noses and that they will ultimately pay the price.
Cliff Olney says in his video below:
Those people that were working at those liquor stores were making livable wages. They had benefits. But of course he feels that privatization is the best route as does our country. These five thousand workers that were able to make a descent living working at a state owned liquor store, selling liquor, now won’t be able to.
Those stores are going to be taken over by the private industry who will offer nothing as far their benefits and low wages that are barely livable. This is the direction that our country continues to go.
Many in Pennsylvania are voicing their opposition as well. Newsworks report:
Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity also is concerned about the loss of jobs at the state-owned stores. The group joins Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Pennsylvania NAACP, and others in opposing the plan.
The group’s announcement comes as the state House and Senate begin outlining their 2014 budget proposals. [source]
When it was apparent that privatization was a distinct possibility and not just talk even more interests reacted.
The Liquor Store Real Estate Owners Association is the latest opponent to liquor privatization. The group is comprised of property owners who have lease agreements with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Among their ranks is David Neal, a Philadelphia real estate owner who owns the property for the state-owned wine and spirits shop on South Street.
His lease, like all others in the state store system, has a termination clause, one without any penalties if the agreement ends. This generally is not a concern, because the state is a reliable tenant.
“You doubt that the Liquor Control Board is going to go out of business. And people are going to buy alcohol,” Neal said. “When times are good, people drink. When times are bad, people drink.”
But when Neal heard news of the plan to get government out of the liquor business – and saw the House of Representatives successfully vote to privatize, that termination clause could suddenly make or break his bottom line.
So Neal and several other liquor store owners organized, started the association, sent out mailings, launched a website and effectively joined the special interest cavalcade in the privatization debate. …
Groups like beer distributors, unionized liquor store employees, public safety advocates like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and business interests have had their say in public hearings and other events. But the folks the LCB leases space from were not in the loop. At least, not at the outset. [source]
There are many reasons why privatizing Pennsylvania’s liquor stores would be disruptive and counterproductive. It is evident the goal of private companies will be to increase the sale of liquor to maximize profits. This will undoubtedly increase alcoholism. This alcoholism would become a feeder into private drug rehab hospitals. Not far behind would be chronic alcohol offenders feeding into prison systems that are either privatized, run privately, or being lobbied to be run privately.
It is also clear that whereas government jobs come with good benefits and good wages, the incremental efficiency these private companies get would be on the backs of the workers in the form of lower wages, benefits, and security. In other words, the state will trade a positive economy that results from living wage employees that spend, as well as liquor profits in return for meager licensing income that enables profits of the sale to go to a select few, shareholders of the private companies.
This is the classic case of the pilfering of the middle class that is occurring throughout the nation. From call centers being privatized and taken overseas to private health insurance companies skimming profits from Medicare, the privatization of government services is nothing more than a few finding a legal avenue to steal tax dollars.