Sunday, February 27, 2005

Let's raise taxes on alcohol

Why don't we raise taxes on alcohol in the same manner as we have on cigarettes?

Opponents of cigarette smoking cite various reasons for taxing them. Among these are the deaths of smokers and the corresponding health care costs. They also cite the health of non-smokers and their health care costs.

Well, what about alcohol?

How many people are killed each year in alcohol related accidents?
How many people are injured each year in alcohol related accidents?
What is the cost to the American public as a result of alcohol related accidents? Lost jobs? Lost wages? Lost business production? Property damage?

Now, let us move on to other problems associated with alcohol. We won't even touch on personal health costs. But what about domestic violence? How many individuals kill, or injure domestic partners while drunk? How many other crimes are committed while a person is drunk. How many other acts of violence (other than domestic) are committed as the result of alcohol consumption.

So, why isn't alcohol taxed at the same rate as cigarettes?

That is easy to answer. The liquor industry, restaurant associations, hotel/motel associations, tourist associations would be up in arms. And the politicians (the various state legislatures) do not have the intestinal fortitude (or the willingness to be on these groups "hit lists").

Can you imagine what would happen if a major convention hotel had to charge $10-$15 for a glass of beer? They would be up in arms. That is what would happen if those taxes were raised proportionately. They would scream that they could not attract convention and/or tourist business. Or if an individual took their partner out to dinner at a modest restaurant and had to pay $12 for a glass of wine? Or if that six pack of beer cost $18-$25? Wow, that would put a damper on Sunday afternoon TV viewing of football games.

Alcohol abuse costs this country tens of billions of dollars a year...........but so what? It's easier to pick on smokers.

For those politicians who claim they are concerned about people's health, go after cigarettes, but not after alcohol, are hypocrites of the first order.