Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell made national headlines recently when he declared April to be Confederate History Month while omitting the subject of slavery from the aforementioned history. McDonnell said he wanted to "acknowledge the sacrifices" of the soldiers who fought against the United States during the Civil War, which is pretty crazy if you think about it. I mean, the Confederacy seceded from the United States and went to war against them. We need an entire month to honor that?
More recently, McDonnell has appointed former Nixon and Bush I operative Fred Malek to head his new Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring. Fred Malek is a major GOP donor and has worked for both John McCain and Sarah Palin. One of the first tasks the new commission is scheduled to undertake is selling off and privatizing the state-run liquor stores.
The current state monopoly on liquor stores makes it a pain to get booze, especially if you are already drunk or if it is Sunday. The state liquor stores are scattered rather thinly, making a drive necessary but problematic for many alcoholics. With privatization, liquor merchants can bring their wares into the neighborhoods that need them most- the crumbling, impoverished inner city, for example. After all, nothing says "urban renewal" like a liquor store on every corner. I mean, just think of all the winning lottery tickets that will come from behind the plexiglass-encased counters of the new booze shops.
And there will be a lot of jobs created. All those liquor stores will need cashiers and security guards and somebody will have to drive the liquor distribution trucks over the state's rapidly disintegrating roads. Sadly many inner-city kids don't have many options in life other than choosing between dealing drugs and getting shot or joining the military and getting shot. A job as a liquor store clerk allows them to experience a little bit of both worlds, getting fired upon while dispensing intoxicants and learning vital job-related discipline at the same time. A decent education would probably be better than training as a combat cashier, but public schools are likely to have their budgets slashed by McDonnell's "reforms". After all, money spent on helping kids learn and develop is money wasted, right? Wouldn't it be better to close the schools and use the empty buildings as liquor warehouses? All we need is a couple minor adjustments to those pesky labor laws and poor kids can start jump-starting their careers as lift-drivers and box-handlers. Do we really need a Big Brother Government that tells us who we can and can't hire? How is industry supposed to create jobs if they can't hire Mexicans and children?
The state will also save money by cutting jobs when they close their stores. It was one of the better retail jobs available, with benefits and pensions for full-timers. I doubt if the new, privately-owned stores will offer benefits.
A woman at work told me that the proposal will save people a lot of money, especially if they routinely buy thousands of dollars of liquor. Bars will become more profitable, which will create jobs. In bars.
It is now legal for Virginia citizens to carry handguns into bars and it is easier than ever to buy a handgun in Virginia. Soon it will be easier to get liquor as well. What could go wrong?