Prohibition stepchild: It’s not over until the Pennsylvania LCB is gone

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Thursday marked 80 years since the end of Prohibition, the ban on the sale, manufacture, import and transport of alcohol in the United States.

A news story the same day by the Post-Gazette’s Bill Toland recounted the repressive era in Pittsburgh and a multimedia presentation on, “Pittsburgh: The Dark Years,” details some of the crime families, bootleggers and midday murders of the period.

Those were the bad ol’ days, and thank goodness they’re gone. Or are they?

A major vestige of Prohibition, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, survives into 2013 and keeps the sale and marketing of wine and spirits in the monopolistic grip of government.

While other states moved on decades ago and turned such merchandising over to private businesses, the backward thinkers in Harrisburg — a capital now run by Republicans, the party ostensibly of free enterprise — believe government knows best when it comes to scotch and sauvignon blanc. Just like the 1930s.

Only it’s eight decades later, even in Pennsylvania. It’s time for Gov. Tom Corbett to make good on his promise to get government out of the liquor business. That way Prohibition will be truly over, even in the cradle of the Whiskey Rebellion.

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