Monday, March 29, 2010

Controversial Monday: Taxing Alcohol

It's been awhile since I have posted a controversial Monday post. I miss it.

And guess what? You actually get a post today that does not have anything to do with the fact that my children played dodge ball with a pee-soaked diaper yesterday, or that we had to start a "penny jar project" to improve our "obeying the first time, everytime" averages or that my husband got more excited about UNI beating Kansas State than he did about the whole NFL season.

Remember how I shared with you all that I get a little crazy when I am not working? Well, I have now been off for over 3 weeks and I have started a new project: couponing. Why? Because I am nuts. Really.

Pretty sure that Noah is already tired of me explaining my coupon strategies and the fact that I made 28 homemade cinnemon rolls for between $2-$3.

Where am I going with this? Oh yes, tax on alcohol. So since I am into coupons right now (pretty cheap hobby, if I do say so myself), I decided to order the Sunday paper. (don't tell my dad that I ordered the enemy paper, 'k?)

I clipped coupons today, reviewed ads and let the children practice their cutting on the toy "catalogs". The boys were enamored with the Sunday comics, and of course Noah laughed out loud- because that it just the way that he is.

But the funny thing is- I enjoyed reading the actual articles in the paper. I get most of my news online, but because of that I miss editorials and well, pretty much anything else that does not appear as a headline on the local news website or the MSN homepage.

Which (finally) brings me to the topic: I read an editorial on Taxing Alcohol.

Basically, the author of the article, Stephen Simon, states that increasing the alcohol tax 10 cents a drink would generate around $260 million per year. That is a lot of drinking going on, people. Can you believe that in our state they estimate that in a year alcohol use and abuse costs us $4.5 billion dollars?!

I believe it. A huge percentage of the patients that I care for at the hospital abuse alcohol. Somehow these people have money for booze, even if they don't have any money to pay their hospital bills. This way they would just be contributing toward "prepaying" their hospital bills a little at a time.

So what do you all think? Am I missing a negative in all this? Or is it is a concept that is really as good as it sounds?


Karla said...

I like the idea, too. Maybe it is because I don't drink...but if it is going to cost everyone money for the abuse of it...why not have the people drinking the alcohol pay for it. I know that some people drink and don't end up in the ICU, but if they don't want to pay the tax then they don't have to drink.

The Three 22nds said...

that is part of the beauty of the plan. 10cents a drink won't really affect minimal to moderate drinkers very much...the tax will mostly prove annoying to those who drink to excess...besides that apparently at least one study has suggested that increasing the price will discourage excessive drinking.

Death and taxes said...

I think it looks like a pretty good plan. Though I question how much the tax will deter heavy drinkers though.

Let's say, because it makes the math easy, a heavy drinker orders 10 drinks in a night. Let's say, at $5 a drink, that's a $50 bar tab, plus a tip, so you're adding $1 to a $60 tab. I don't think that seems like much of a deterent. If that $1 turns into better enforcement, maybe...

The shocking/eye-opening part of that article was they said 10% of the drinkers consume 60% of the booze.

Auntie Kendy said...

Did you read about the government thinking of taxing tanners? A 10% tax on at tanning salons which goes towards the new Healthcare Bill costs.
I am not sure how I feel about this yet... I am not a tanner, but understand the idea to raise money to pay for peoples resulting skin cancer, but really... they are taxing us to death. There is talk of taxing fast food because it causes heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, etc.
Where will it stop? Taxing TV watching because to much will stunt your children's creativity?
Government "intervention" for our health and well being will get out of control.

Anonymous said...

Tell me, where does it stop? So they tax alchohol (oh, it's because people abuse it...) Nevermind the people who legally enjoy it and are responsible... they get taxed too. Then there is the argument, oh, it's just 10 cents...for now. If they do 10 cents, why not 20 cents, 50 cents, a dollar next year? Or more? And what will they tax next that "they" don't approve of? Like Auntie Kendy said...tanning will you feel when they start taxing something you enjoy and aren't abusing because someone deems it inappropriate? how about candy? like starbursts?

All 4 small govt said...

I'm not big on gov't intrusion, but public drinking means public law enforcement.

You and I pay for that. 10% of the drinkers drink 60% of the alcohol. I'm okay with them picking up part of that tab.

the family lush said...

Softball, track, and cities crying about no money for police are all spring sports in MN.

I don't buy for one second that there isn't $260 million/year worth of non-essential, wasteful government spending that could be eliminated to pay for additional law enforcement, if additional law enforcement is in fact needed. Cut some fat out of the budget and then we'll talk about why my taxes need to go up.

The Three 22nds said...

We fly the Libertarian flag over our play structure. I am not for extra taxes and I TOTALLY agree that there is TONS of wasted government spending. I also believe in spending less than you "earn"- and that should go for Government too.

Here is the thing though: Americans voted and that is the way the system works- we go with what the majority wants. The American people have said by their votes that they want the government to take care of them in all areas of their life.

There is not a lot I can do about that, besides keep voting my conscience.

So if that is what the American people want- higher taxes- than I think that the things that should be taxed are the things are raising the costs of health care, police enforcement etc.

The system is broken, obviously. And without radical change at the government level (which I doubt we will get- the American people have become too soft to handle anything other than handouts) it is not going to change.

My hope is in Heaven.

the family lush said...

Well, ok. If the proposal is a horse trade where we raise the liquor tax but cut taxes on income or investment, I might go for it. If the money was dedicated to law enforcement and not unlimited healthcare for people who drink their livers into blobs of goo. But if it's just "we need more money and here's a way to make someone else supply it" then no. Because we ("we" being govt) don't need more money.