As published in the Winter Park/Maitland Observer, Thursday Jan. 3, 2012 Edition Offers... Read More »
University of Florida Professor Says we Should Increase Taxes on Alcohol
Racheal Rettner of LiveScience.Com tells of a new study that says raising taxes on alcohol is a good thing:
Increasing the tax on alcohol could have a slew of public health benefits, according to a new study.
Boosting the price of booze could decrease the incidence of alcohol-related deaths and car crashes, reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and lower violence and crime, the researchers say.
“Thousands of lives could be saved and millions of health care costs, many millions of health care costs averted if the taxes were adjusted to stay up with inflation, for example, or raised a notch,” said study researcher Alexander Wagenaar, professor of health outcomes and policy at the University of Florida College of Medicine.
There is a well-known link between the cost of alcohol and how much people drink, Wagenaar said. For instance, when the alcohol taxes in Finland were lowered by one-third in 2004, there was a 10 percent increase in alcohol consumption, according to a 2009 study in the journal Addiction. And other research by Wagenaar, which analyzed the results of 112 previous studies, found that on average, a 10 percent increase in the cost of alcohol leads to about a 5 percent decrease in the amount of drinking.
Stop beating around the bush, Ms. Wagenaar.¹ If thousands of lives could be saved merely my increasing the taxes on alcohol, imagine how many we could save if we brought back prohibition.
Sin taxes are the cowards way of controlling the behavior of free people. After all, it’s a lot easier to tax a thing that is popular than it is to outlaw it.
Incidentally, I can think of a hundred things I’d like to tax back to the Stone Age. Here’s just a sampling:
¹ I suppose we shouldn’t expect that much from a gator.