Should We Declare A War On Alcohol

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by Screedler on May 28, 2014

Forget about “The War on Drugs”, how about a “The War on Alcohol”.   Great article over at Slate arguing that alcohol taxes should be tripled, among other things.

The columnist Reihan Salam advocates a Prohibition Lite; raising  the alcohol tax to a point just shy of where large numbers of people will start making moonshine in their bathtubs.  With marijuana laws being eased around the country and the regulation of legal weed becoming an increasingly hot topic of politicians and lawmakers, he thinks it’s a good time to revisit how we regulate alcohol sales.

Salam points out new Pew data that 69 percent of Americans believe that alcohol is more harmful to society than marijuana; and when asked if alcohol would still be more harmful to society than marijuana, if marijuana were just as easy to get a hold of as alcohol is now, 63 percent said that yes, it would be.

Most people see marijuana’s relative harmlessness as a reason for us to regulate marijuana as lightly as we regulate alcohol. I see things differently. The fact that alcohol is more harmful to society than marijuana is a reason to regulate alcohol more stringently than we regulate marijuana. In other words, let’s ease up on marijuana Prohibition and ramp up good old-fashioned alcohol Prohibition.

Mark Kleiman, a public policy professor at UCLA and his colleagues Jonathan P. Caulkins and Angela Hawken have suggested tripling the federal alcohol tax from 10 cents a drink to 30 cents a drink, an increase that they estimate would prevent 6 percent of homicides and 6 percent of motor vehicle deaths, thus sparing 3,000 lives (1,000 from the drop in homicides, 2,000 from safer highways) every year. Charging two-drink-per-day drinkers an extra $12 per month seems like a laughably small price to pay to deter binge drinking. Then, of course, there is the fact that a higher alcohol tax would also raise revenue. If you’re going to tax tanning beds and sugary soft drinks, why on earth wouldn’t you raise alcohol taxes too?

Kleiman et al. have also suggested creating separate “drinking licenses.” Bars wouldn’t just check the IDs of the young-looking. They’d check everyone’s drinking licenses, and those who’ve had them revoked for some reason (drunk driving, let’s say) would be bounced.

Maybe the politicians could tie some of these stricter regulations or laws on alcohol use into the ones that are making it easier to use marijuana.  Just a thought.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Zak Waldrop May 29, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Yeah I know that feel bro, I started drinking when my parents share a cup with me telling it was a juice and in the young age I’ve been drinking and now I wanted to change my life but I don’t know when to start drinking.

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2 marknoo May 28, 2014 at 11:47 pm

If we could raise the price enough that parents would not share (or just plain give) alcohol to their children it would be helpful. I don’t know any drunks who did not begin drinking long before the legal age. None.
It seems like if you don’t start young, trauma is the only thing that can really get you. PTSD is a big problem, so is depression and anxiety. This group, however, are the minority. Most people begin too young.
Another thing we could do is make Minor in Possession (MIP) a serious pain in the as* for parents so they have a real reason to keep their kids away from alcohol.

As for the war on drugs. I am against it. Our policies (including the 18the Amendment) have all failed. The war on opium brought us Heroin from Bayer. The war on crack cocaine brought us methamphetamine. This war is costing a lot of money. We cannot win it and we cannot afford it. It also seems to be nearly totally ineffective.
Law enforcement likes it for the money they get, corrupt government officials like it for money, drug dealers like it for the money, and private prisons like it for the money. The American taxpayer gets almost nothing for the money it spends. We should get rid of the drug laws.

I’m sure the people in drug producing would be glad to have the governance of their countries restored to them. Our policies have transformed Mexico into a war zone. We did the same to Columbia.
Keeping it illegal keeps the profit margins up. Since it is illegal disputes between dealers cannot be settled in courts of law. So people get to die in the street.
This war is immoral.
Besides, what kind of war doesn’t involve the defoliation of drug producing areas. Why are no airfields that help transport drugs being bombed so they are unusable. Is the Navy sinking luxury yachts known to be used by drug dealers. How about mansions, are any of them being bombed, if not, why.
The whole thing is crap.

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